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A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



TUI KW TMUT 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

^2"2f*£OUNpATlOK»j 



A MAN AND HIS 

MONEY 



FREDERIC S^'lSHAM 

Author of 

Under the Rose, Half a Chance 
The Social Bucaneer, Etc. 



ILLUSTRATIONS BY 

MAX J. SPERO 



SYNDICATE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

NEW YORK LONDON 



* "^ '. * ■ 1 ■ 






65868A 






r; 



Copyright 1912 
Ths Bobbs-Merrill Company 



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k 



A MAN AND HIS MONEY 









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2c: 



A MAN AND HIS 
MONEY 



CHAPTER I 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 



TTTELL? What can I 
V Y The speaker — bl sc 



do for you ?" 
peaker — ^a scrubby Httle man — 
wheeled in the rickety office chair to regard 
some one hesitating on his threshold. The 
tones were not agreeable; the proprietor of 
the diminutive, run-down establishment, "The 
St. Cecilia Music Emporium," was not, for 
certain wdl defined reasons, in an amiable 
mood that morning. He had been about to 
reach down for a little brown jug which re- 
posed on the spot usually allotted to the waste 
paper basket when the shadow of the new- 
comer fell obtrusively, not to say offensively, 
up(Mi him. 

I 



2 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

It was not a reassuring shadow; it seemed 
to spring from an indeterminate personality. 
Mr. Kerry Mackintosh repeated his question 
more bruskly; the shadow (obviously not a 
customer, — no one ever sought Mr. Mackin- 
tosh's wares!) started: his face showed signs 
of a vacillating purpose. 

"A mistake! Beg pardon!" he murmured 
with exquisite politeness and began to back out, 
when a somewhat brutal command on the 

other's part to "shut that d door d 

quick, and not let any more d hot air out" 

arrested the visitor's purpose. Instead of re- 
treating, he advanced. 

/'I beg pardon, were you addressing me ?" he 
asked. The half apologetic look had quite 
vanished. 

The other considered, muttered at length in 
an aggrieved tone something about hot air es- 
caping and coal six dollars a ton, and ended 
with : "What do you want ?" 

"Work." The visitor's tone relapsed; it 
was now conspicuous for its want of "success 
waves"; it seemed to imply a definite cogni- 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 3 

zance of personal uselessness. He who had 
brightened a moment before now spoke like 
an automaton. Mr. Mackintosh looked at him 
and his shabby garments. He had a contempt 
for shabby garments— on others 1 

"Grood day!" he said curtly. 

But instead of going, the person coolly sat 
down. The proprietor of the little shop glanced 
toward the door and half started from his 
chair. Whereupon the visitor smiled ; he had 
a charming smile in these moments of calm 
equipoise, it gave one an impression of poten- 
tial possibilitiesw Mr. Mackintosh sank back 
into his chair. 

"Too great a waste of energy!" he mur- 
mured, and having thus defined his attitude, 
turned to a "proAf" of new rag-time. This he 
surveyed discontentedly; struck out a note 
here, jabbed in another there. The stranger 
watched him at first casually. By sundry 
signs the caller's fine resolution and assurance 
seemed slowly oozing from him; perhaps he 
began to have doubts as to the correctness of 
his position, thus to storm a man in his own 



4 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

castle, or office— even if it were such a disrep- 
utable-appearing office ! 

He shifted his feet thoughtfully; a thin lock 
of dark hair drooped more uncertainly over his 
brow; he got up. The composer dashed a 
blithe flourish to the tail of a note, 

"Hold on/' he said. "What's your hurry?" 
Sarcastically. 

"Didn't know I was in a hurry!" There 
was no attempted levity in his tone, — he spoke 
rather listlessly, as one who had found the 
world, or its problems, slightly wearisome. 
The composer-publisher now arose; a new 
thought had suddenly assailed him. 

"You say you are looking for work. Why 
did you drift in here?" 

"The place looked small. Those big places 
have no end of applicants — " 

"Shouldn't think that would phase you. 
With your nerve !" 

The visitor flushed. "I seem to have made 
rather a mess of it," he confessed. "I usually 
do. Good day." 

"A moment!" said Mr. Mackintosh. "One 



L 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 5 

of my men*' — ^he emphasized "one," as if their 
number were legion — "disappointed me this 
morning. I expect he's in the lockup by this 
time. Have you got a voice?" 

"A what?" 

"Can you sing?" 

"I really don't know; haven't ever tried, 
since" — z wonderful retrospection in his tones 
— "since I was a little chap in church and wore 
white robes." 

"Huh!" ejaculated the proprietor of the 
Saint Cecilia shop, "Mama's angel boy 1 That 
must have been a long time ago." The visitor 
did not answer ; he pushed back uncertainly the 
uncertain lock of dark hair and seemed al- 
most to have forgotten the object of his 
visit. 

"Now see here" — ^Mr. Mackintosh's voice 
became purposeful, energetic; he seated him- 
self before a piano that looked as if it had led 
a hard nomadic existence. "Now see here!" 
Striking a few chords. "Suppose you try this 
stunt 1 Whafs the Matter with Mother? My 
own composition! Kerry Mackintosh at his 



J 



6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

best I Now twitter away, if youVe any of that 
angel voice left !'* 

The piano rattled; the new-comer, with a 
certain faint whimsical smile as if he appreci- 
ated the humor of his position, did "twitter 
away" ;. loud sounds fiUed the place. Quality 
might be lacking but of quantity there was 
a-plenty. 

"Bully !" cried Mr. Mackintosh enthusiastic- 
ally. "That'll start the tears roU;ng. What's 
the Matter with Mother? Nothing's the mat- 
ter with mother. And if any one says there is — 
Will it go? With that voice?" He clapped 
his hand on the other's shoulder. "Why, man, 
they could hear you across Madison Square. 
You've a voice like an organ. Is it a *go' ?" he 
demanded. 

"I don't think I quite understand," said the 
new-comer patiently. 

"You don't, eh ? Look there !" 

A covered wagon had at that moment 
stopped before the door. It was drawn by a 
horse whose appearance, like that of the piano, 
spoke more eloquently of services in the past 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 7 

than of hopeful promises for thci future. On 
the side of the vehicle appeared in large let- 
ters: "Whafs the Matter with Mother? Lat- 
est Melodic Triumph by America's Greatest 
Composer, Mr. Kerry Mackintosh." A little 
to the left of this announcement was painted a 
harp, probably a reminder of the one Saint 
Cecilia was supposed to have played. This 
sentimental symbol was obviously intended to 
lend dignity and respectability to the otherwise 
disreputable vehicle of concord and its steed 
without wings, waiting patiently to be off — or 
to lie down and pay the debt of nature ! 

"Shall we try it again, angel voice?" asked 
Mr. Mackintosh, playing the piano, or 'TbifRng 
the ivories," as he called it 

"Drop it," returned the visitor, "that 'angel' 
dope." 

"Oh, all right! Anything to oblige." 

Before this vaguely apologetic reply, the 
new-comer once more relapsed into thought- 
fulness. His eye passed dubiously over the ve- 
hicle of harmony; he began to take an inter- 
est in the front door as if again inclined to 



N 



8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

t 

"back out." Perhaps a wish that the horse 
might lie down and die at this moment (no 
doubt he would be glad to ! ) percolated through 
the current of his thoughts. That would offer 
an easy solution to the proposal he imagined 
would soon be fortlicoming — ^that was forth- 
coming — ^and accepted. Of course! What 
alternative remained? Needs must when an 
empty pocket drives. Had he not learned the 
lesson — beggars must not be choosers? 

"And now," said Mr. Mackintosh with the 
air of a man who had cast from his shoulders 
a distinct problem, "that does away with the 
necessity of bailing the other chap out. What's 
your name?" 

The visitor hesitated. "Horatio Heather- 
bloom." 

The other looked at him keenly. "The right 
one," he said softly. 

"You've got the only one you'll get," replied 
the caller, after an interval. 

Mr. Mackintosh bestowed upon him a know- 
ing wink, "Sounds like a nom de plume," he 
chuckled. "What was your line ?" 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 9 

**I don't understand." 

''What did you serve time for? Shoplift- 

"Oh, no," said the other calmly. 

"Burglarizing?" With more respect in his 
tones. 

"What do you think?" queried the caller in 
the same mild voice. 

"Not ferocious-looking enough for that lay, 
I should have thought. However, you can't 
always tell by appearances. Now, I won- 
der—" 

"What?" observed Mr. Heatherbloom, after 
an interval of silence. 

"Yesl By Jove!" Mr. Mackintosh was 
speaking to himself. "It might work — it might 
add interest — '' Mr. Heatherbloom waited pa- 
tiently. "Would you have any objections," 
earnestly, "to my making a little addenda to 
the sign on the chariot of cadence? What's 
the Matter with Mother? The touching lyric, 
as interpreted by Horatio Heatherbloom, the 
reformed burglar' ?" 

"I should object," observed the caller. 



lo A MA ' AND HIS MONEY 

"My boy — niy boy ! Don't be hasty. Take 
time to think, I'll go further ; I'll paint a few 
iron bars in front of the harp. Suggestive of 
a prisoner in jail thinking of mother. Say 
'yes'." 

"No." 

"Too bad!" murmured Mr. Mackintosh in 
disappointed but not altogether convinced 
tones. "You could use another alias, you 
know. If you're afraid the police might pipe 
your game and nab — " 

"Drop it, or—" 

"All right, Mr. Heatherbloom, or any other 
blooming name!" Recovering his jocular man- 
ner. "It's not for me to inquire the 'why,' or 
care a rap for the 'wherefore.' Ethics hasn't 
anything to do with the realm of art." 

As he spoke he reached under the desk and 
took out the jug. "Have some?" extending the 
tumbler. 

The thin lips of the other moved, his hand 
quickly extended but was drawn as suddenly 
back. "Thanks, but I'm on the water wagon, 
old chap." 



THE COACH OF CONCORD ii 

'Well, I'm not. Do you know you said that 
just like a gentleman — ^to the manner born." 

"A gentleman ? A moment ago I was a re- 
formed burglar," 

"You might be both," 

Mr. Heatherbloom looked into space; Mr. 
Mackintosh did not notice a subtle change of 
expression. That latter gentleman's rapt 
gaze was wholly absorbed by the half -tumbler- 
ful he held in mid air. But only for a moment ; 
the next, he was smacking his lips. "We'll 
have a bite to eat and then go," he now said 
more cheerfully. "Ready for luncheon?'* 

"I could eat" 

"Had anything to-day ?" 

"Maybe." 

"And maybe not !" Half jeeringly. 'Why 
don't you say you've been training down, tak- 
ing the go-without-breakfast cure? Say, it 
must be hell looking for a job when you've just 
'got out' 1" 

"How do you know I just 'got out' ?" 

*'You look it, and — ^there's a lot of reasons. 
Come on.'* 



12 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Half an hour or so later the covered wagon 
drove along Fourteenth street. Near the curb, 
not far from the corner of Broadway, it sepa- 
rated itself from the concourse of vehicles and 
stopped. Close by, nickel palaces of amuse- 
ment exhibited their yawning entrances, and 
into these gilded maws floated, from the human 
current on the sidewalk, a stream of men, 
women and children. Encamped at the edge 
of this eddy, Mr. Mackintosh sounded on the 
nomadic piano, now ensconced within the coach 
of concord, the first triumphal strains of the 
maternal tribute in rag-time. 

He and the conspiring instrument were con- 
cealed in the depths of the vehicle from the 
gaze of the multitude, but Mr. Heatherbloom 
at the back faced them on the little step which 
served as concert stage. There were no lime- 
lights or stereopticon pictures to add to the 
illusion,— only the disconcerting faces and the 
light of day. He never before knew how bright 
the day could be but he continued to stand 
there, in spite of the ludicrous and trying po- 
sition. He sang, a certain daredevil light in 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 13 

his eye now, a suspicion of a covert smile on 
his face. It might be rather tragic — ^his posi- 
tion — but it was also a little funny. 

His voice didn't sound any better out of 
doors than it did in; the "angel" quality of the 
white-robed choir days had departed with 
the soul of the boy. Perhaps Mr. Heather- 
bloom didn't really feel the pathos of the 
selection ; at any rate, those tears Mr. Mackin- 
tosh had prophesied would be rolling down the 
cheeks of the listening multitude weren't forth- 
coming. One. or two onlookers even laughed. 

"Pigs! Swine!" murmured the composer, 
now passing through the crowd with copies of 
the song. He sold a few, not many; on the 
back step Mr. Heatherbloom watched with 
faint sardonic interest. 

"Have I earned my luncheon yet ?" he asked 
the composer when that aggrieved gentleman, 
jingling a few dimes, returned to the equipage 
of melody. 

"Haven't counted up," was the gruff reply. 
"Give 'em another verse! They ain't accus- 
tomed to it yet. Once they git to know it. 



14 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

every boot-black in town will be whistling that 
song. Don't I know? Didn't I write it? 
Ain't they all had mothers ?" 

"Maybe they're all Topsies and 'just 
growed'," suggested Mr. Heatherbloom. 

"Patience !" muttered the other. "The pub- 
lic may be a little coy at first, but once they git 
started they'll be fighting for copies. So en- 
core, my boy; hammer it into them. We'll 
get them ; you see !" 

But the person addressed didn't see, at least 
with Mr, Mackintosh's clairvoyant vision. Mr. 
Heatherbloom's gaze wandering quizzically 
from the little pool of mask-like faces had 
rested on a great shining mbtor-car approach- 
ing — slowly, on account of the press of 
traffic. In this wide luxurious vehicle re- 
posed a young girl, slender, exquisite; at her 
side sat a big, dark, distinguished-appearing 
man, with a closely cropped black beard; a 
foreigner — most likely Russian. 

The girl was as beautiful as the dainty or- 
chids with which the superb car was adorned, 
and which she, also, wore in her gown — ^yellow 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 15 

orchids, tenderly fashioned but very insistent 
and bright Upon this patrician vision Mr. 
Heatherbloom had inadvertently looked, and 
the pathetic plaint regarding "Mother" died 
on the wings of nothingness. With unfilial re- 
spect he literally abandoned her and cast her 
to the winds. His eyes gleamed as they rested 
on the girl; he seemed to lose himself in 
reverie. 

Did she, the vision in orchids, notice him? 
Perhaps! The chauffeur at that moment in- 
creased the speed of the big car; but as it 
dashed past, the crimson mouth of the beauti- 
ful girl tightened and hardened into a straight 
line and those wonderful starlike eyes shone 
suddenly with a light as hard as steel. Dis- 
dainful, contemptuous ; albeit, perhaps, passion- 
ate! Then she, orchids, shining car and all 
were whirled on. 

Rattle ! bang ! went the iron-rimmed wheels 
of other rougher vehicles. Bing ! bang ! sounded 
the piano like a soul in torment. 

Horatio Heatherbloom stood motionless; 
then his figure swayed slightly. He lifted the 



i6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

music, as if to shield his features from the 
others — ^his many auditors; but they didn't 
mind that brief interruption; it afforded a 
moment for that rough and ready dialogue 
which a gathering of this, kind finds to its lik- 
ing. 

"Give him a trokee ! Anybody got a cough 
drop?" 

"It's soothing syrup he wants," 

"No; it's us wants that" 

"What the devil — " Mr. Mackintosh looked 
out of the wagon. 

Mr. Heatherbloom suddenly laughed, a 
forced reckless laugh. "Guess it was the 
dampness. I'm like some artists — ^have to be 
careful where I sing." 

"Have a tablet, feller, do!" said a man in 
the audience. 

Horatio looked him in the eye. "Maybe it's 
you want something." 

The facetious one began to back away; he 
had seen that look before, the steely glint that 
goes before battle. 

"The chord now, if you please!" said Mr. 



THE COACH OF CONCORD 17 

Heatherbloom to the composer in a still quiet 
voice. 

Mr. Mackintosh hit viciously ; Mr. Heather- 
bloom sang again ; he did more than that He 
outdid himself ; he employed bombast, — some 
thought it pathos. He threw a tremolo into his 
voice ; it passed for emotion. He "caught 'em", 
in Mr. Mackintosh's parlance, and "caught 'em 
hard". Some more people bought copies. The 
alert Mr. Mackintosh managed to gather in 
about a dollar, and saw, in consequence, great 
fortune "coming his way" at last; the clouds 
had a golden lining. 

"Say, you're the pard I've been a-looking 
fori" he jubilantly told Mr. Heatherbloom as 
they prepared to move on. "We'll make a 
beautiful team. Isn't it a peach?" 

"What?" 

"That song. It made them look like a rainy 
day. Git up!" And Mr. Mackintosh prodded 
the bony ribs of their steed. 

Mr. Heatherbloom absent-mindedly gazed in 
the direction the big shining motor had van- 
ished. ' 



CHAPTER II 

VARYING FORTUNES 

MR. HEATHERBLOOM'S new-found 
employment proved but ephemeral. 
The next day the sheriff took possession of the 
music emporium and all it contained, including 
the nomadic piano and the now empty jug. 

■ 

The contents of the last the composer-publisher 
took care to put beyond reach of his many 
creditors whom he,, in consequence, faced with 
a seemingly care-free, if artificial, jocularity. 
Mr. Heatherbloom walked soberly forth from 
the shop of concord. 

He had but turned the comer of the street 
when into the now dissonant *'hole in the 
wall", amid the scene of wreck and disaster, 
stepped a tall dark man, with a closely cropped 
beard, who spoke English with an accent and 
who regarded the erstwhile proprietor and the 

i8 



VARYING FORTUNES 19 

minions of the law with ill-concealed arro- 
gance and disfavor. 

'*You have," he began in halting tones, **a 
young man here who sings on the street like 
the minstrels of old, the — what you call them? 
— ^troubadours." 

"We had/' corrected Mr. Mackintosh. *'He 
has just *jumped the coup,' or rather been 
'shooed out'." 

The new-comer fastened his gaze upon the 
other; he had superb, almost mesmeric eyes. 
"Will you kindly speak the language as I un- 
derstand it ?" he said. And the other did, for 
there was that in the caller's manner which 
compelled immediate compliance. Immovably 
he listened to the composer-publisher's expla- 
nation. 

''Eh bienT he said, his handsome, rather 
barbaric head high when Mr. Mackintosh had 
concluded. "He is gone ; it is well ; I have ful- 
filled my mission." And walking out, the im- 
posing stranger hailed a taxi and disappeared 
from the neighborhood. 

Meanwhile Mr. Horatio Heatherbloom had 



20 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

walked slowly on ; he was now some distance 
from the one-time "emporium." Where should 
he go? His fortunes had not been enhanced 
materially by his brief excursion into the 
realms of melody; he had thirty cents in cash 
and a "doUar-and-a-half appetite." An untidy 
place where they displayed a bargain assort- 
ment of creature comforts attracted his gaze. 
He thought of meals in the past — of caviar, 
a la Russe, three dollars and a half a portion; 
peaches Melba, three francs each at the Cafe de 
Paris; truffled capon from Normandy; duck 
after the manner of the incomparable Frederic. 
About half a dozen peaches Melba would have 
appealed to him now ; he looked, instead, with 
the eyes of longing at a codfish ball. Oh, glori- 
ous appetite, mocking recollections of hours of 
satiety ! 

Should he yield to temptation ? He stopped ; 
then prudence prevailed. The day was yet too 
young to give way recklessly to casual gas- 
tronomic allurements, so he stepped on again 
quickly, averting his head from shop windows. 
Lest his caution and conservatism might give 



VARYING fORTUNES 21 

way, he started to turn into a side street — ^but 
didn't 

Instead, he laughed slightly to himself. 
What! flee from an outpost of time-worn cel- 
ery? beat an inglorious retreat before a pha- 
lanx of machine-made pies? He would look 
them (figuratively) in the eye. Having, as it 
were, fairly stared out of countenance the 
bland pies and beamed with stem contempt 
upon the *'droopy," Preraphaelite celery, he . 
went, better satisfied, on his way. It is these 
little victories that count; at that mo- 
ment Mn Heatherbloom marched on like 
a knight of old for steadfastness of 
purpose. His lips veiled a covert smile, as if 
behind the hard mask of life he saw something 
a little odd and whimsical, appealing to some 
secret sense of humor that even hunger could 
not wholly annihilate. The lock of hair seemed 
to droop rather pathetically at that moment; 
his sensitive features were slightly pinched ; his 
face was pale. It would probably be paler be- 
fore the day was over; n' import e! The future 
had to be met — for better, or worse. Multi- 



I 



22 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

tudes passed this way and that; an elevated 
went crashing by; devastating influences 
seemed to surround him. His slender form 
stiffened. 

When next he stopped it was to linger, 
not in front of an eating establishment, but 
before a bulletin-board upon which was pasted 
a page of newspaper "want ads" for "trained" 
men, in all walks of life. "Trained" men? 
Hateful word ! How often had he encountered 
it! Ah, here was one advertisement without 
the "trained"; he devoured it eagerly. The 
item, like an oasis in the desert of his general 
incapacity and uselessness, exercised an odd 
fascination for him in spite of the absolute im- 
possibility of his professing to possess a frac- 
tional part of those moral attributes demanded 
by the fair advertiser. She — z Miss Van Rol- 
sen — ^was seeking a paragon, not a person. 
Nevertheless, he resolved to assail the appar- 
ently unassailable, and repaired to a certain 
ultrafashionable neighborhood of the town. 

Before a brownstone front that bore the 
number he sought, he paused a moment, drew 



VARYING FORTUNES 23 

a deep breath and started to walk up the front 
steps. But with a short laugh he came sud- 
denly to a halt half-way up; looked over the 
stone balustrade down at the other entrance 
below — ^the tradesmen's — the butchers', the 
bakers', the candlestick makers' — ^and, yes, the 
servants' — ^their way in ! — ^his ? ^ 

He went down the steps and walked on and 
away as a matter of course, but once more 
stopped. He had done a- good deal of going 
this way and that, and then stopping, during 
the last few months. Things had to be worked 
out, and sometimes his brain didn't seem to 
move very quickly. 

To be worked out! He now surveyed the 
butchers' and the bakers' (and yes, the serv- 
ants') entrance with casual or philosophic in- 
terest from the vantage point of the other side 
of the street It wasn't different from any 
other of the entrances of the kind but it held 
his gaze. Then he walked across the street 
again and went in — or down. It didn't really 
seem now such a bad kind of entrance when 
you came to investigate it, in a high impersonal 



24 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

way; not half so bad as the subway, and people 
didn't mind that. 

Still Mr. Heatherbloom experienced a pecu- 
liar thrill when he put up his thumb, pressed a 
button, and wondered what next would hap- 
pen. Who answered doors down here, — the 
maid — the cook — the laundress ? He felt him- 
self to be very indistinct and vague standing 
there in the shadow, and tried to assume a 
nonchalant bearing. He wondered just what 
bearing was proper under the circumstances; 
he cherished indistinct recollections of having 
heard or read that the butcher's boy is usually 
favored with a broadly defying and independ- 
ent visage ; that he comes in whistling and goes 
forth swaggering. A cat-meat man he had 
once looked upon from the upper lodge of 
front steps somewhere in the dim long ago, had 
possessed a melancholy manner and counte- 
nance. 

How should he comport himself; what 
should he say — ^when the inevitable happened ; 
when the time came to say something? How 
lead the conversation by natural and easy 



VARYING FORTUNES 25 

stages to the purport of his visit? He re- 
hearsed a few sentences, then straightway for- 
got them. Why did they keep him waiting so 
long? Did they always keep people as long as 
that — down here ? He put his thumb again — 

"Well, what do you want?" The door had 
opened and a buxom female, arms akimbo, re- 
garded him. Mr. Heatherbloom repaid her 
gaze with interest ; it was the cook, then, who 
acted as door tender of these regions subter- 
ranean. He feared by her expression that he 
had interrupted her in the preparation of some 
esculent delicacy, and with the fear was bom a 
parenthetical inquiry; he wondered what that 
delicacy might be ? But forbearing to inquire 
he stated his business. 

"You'll be the thirteenth that's been 'turned 
down' to-day for that job!" observed cook 
blandly. With which cheering assurance she 
consigned him to some one else — a maid with 
a tipped-up nose — and presently he found him* 
self being "shown up" ; that was the expression 
used. 

The room into which he was ushered was a 



26 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

parlor. Absently he seated himself. The maid 
tittered. He looked at her — or rather the 
tipped-up nose, an attractive bit of anatomy. 
Saucy, provocative! Mr. Heatherbloom*s head 
tilted a little; he surveyed the detail with the 
look of a connoisseur. She colored, went; but 
remained in the hall to peer. There were many 
articles of virtu lying around — on tables or in 
cabinets — ^and the caller's appearance was 
against him. He would bear watching ; he had 
the impudence — Just fancy his sitting there 
in a chair! He was leaning back now as if he 
enjoyed that atmosphere of luxury; surveying, 
too, the paintings and the bronzes with interest. 
But for no good reason, thought the maid; 
then gave a start of surprise. The hand of the 
suspicious-looking caller had lifted involunta- 
rily to his breast pocket; a mechanical move- 
ment such as a young gentleman might make 
who was reaching for a cigarette case. Did 
he intend — actually intend to — ^but the caller's 
hand fell ; he sat forward suddenly on the edge 
of his chair and seemed for the first time 
aware that his attitude partook of the anoma- 



VARYING FORTUNES 27 

lous ; for gathering up his shabby hat from the 
gorgeous rug, he abruptly rose. 

Just in time to confront, or be confronted by, 
an austere lady in stiff satin or brocade and 
with bristling iron-gray hair! He noticed, 
however, that unlike the maid, she had a very 
prominent nose — that now sniffed ! 

"Good heavens! What a frightful odor of 
gasolene. Jane, where are my salts ?" 

Jane rushed in ; at the same time four or five 
does that had followed in the lady's wake 
began to bark as if they, too, were echoing the 
plaint: *'What a frightful odor! Salts, Jane, 
salts!" And as they barked in many keys, 
but always fortissimo, they ran frantically this 
way and that as though chased by somebody 
or something (perhaps the odor of gasolene), 
or chasing one another in a mad outburst of 
canine exuberance. 

"Sardanapolis ! Beauty! Curly! Naughty!" 
the lady called out. 

But in vain. Sardanapolis continued to cut 
capers; Beauty's conduct was not beautiful; 
while as for Naughty (all yellow bows and 



28 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

black curls) he seemed endeavoring to live up 
to the fullest realization of his name. 

"Dear me! What ^/ta// 1 do r 

"Just let 'em alone, ma'am/* ventured Jane, 
"and they'll soon tire themselves out." 

Fortunately, by this time, the be-ribboned 
pets showed signs of reaching that state of 
ennui. 

"Dear me!" said now the lady anxiously. 
"How wet the poor dears' tongues are !" 

"Nature of the b — poor dears, ma'am!" 
commented Jane. 

The lady looked at her. ^'You don't like 
dogs," she said. "You can go." And then to 
Mr. Heatherbloom : "What brought you here ? 
Don't answer at once. Stand farther back." 

Mr. Heatherbloom, who seemed to have been 
rather enjoying this little impromptu entertain- 
ment, straightened with a start; he retired a 
few paces, observing in a mild explanatory tone 
something about spots on his garments and the 
necessity for having them removed at a certain 
little Greek shop, before doing himself the 
honor of calling and — 



VARYING FORTUNES 29 

"You're another answer to the advertisement 
then, I suppose?" the lady's voice unceremoni- 
ously interrupted. 

He confessed himself Another Answer, and 
in that capacity proceeded now to reply as best 
he might to a merciless and rapid fire of ques- 
tions. She would have made an excellent cross- 
examiner for the prosecution; Mr. Heather- 
bloom did not seem to enjoy the grilling. A 
number of queries he answered frankly; oth- 
ers he evaded. He seemed — ominous circum- 
stance! — especially secretive regarding certain 
details of his past. He did not care to say 
where he was bom, or who his parents were. 
What had he done? What occupations had he 
followed ? 

Well — he seemed to hesitate a good deal — 
he had once tried washing dishes ; but — dream- 
ily — they had discharged him; the man said 
something about there being a debit balance on 
account of damaged crockery. He had essayed 
the role of waiter but had lasted only through 
the first courses; down to the entrees, he 
thought; certainly not much past the pottage. 



30 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He believed he bumped into another waiter ; a 
few guests within range had seemed put out; 
afterward, he himself was put out. And then 
— ^well, he had somehow drifted, more or 
less. 

*'Drif ted !" said the lady ominously. 
, "Oh, yes! Tried his hand at this and that," 
he added rather blithely. He once worked 
for a moving-picture firm; fell from a six- 
story window for them. That is, he started to 
fall ; something — 2l net or a platform — ^was sup- 
posed to catch him at the fifth, and then a 
dummy completed the descent and got smashed 
on the sidewalk. He was a little doubtful about 
their intercepting him at the fifth and that he, 
instead of the dummy — But he didn't seem 
to mind taking the risk — reflectively. They 
said he was a great success falling through the 
air, and they had him, in consequence, fall 
from all kinds of places — ^through drawbridges 
into the water, for example. That's where he 
contracted a bad cold, and when he had recov- 
ered, another man had been found for the 
heavier-than-air role — 




VARYING FORTUNES 31 

**What are you talking about ?" The lady's 
back was stiff er than a poker. 

"If ever you go to a moving-picture palace 
of amusement. Madam, and see a streak in the 
air, you might reasonably conclude you are" — 
he bowed — "beholding me. I went once; it 
seemed funny. I hardly recognized myself in 
the part. I certainly seemed to be 'going 
some'," he murmured seriously. "Is there 
anything else, Madam, you would care to ques- 
tion me about?" 

"I think," she said significantly, "what I 
have learned is quite sufficient. If the occupa- 
tions you have told me about are so disreputa- 
ble — what were those you have kept so care- 
fully concealed? For example, where were 
you and what were you doing four — five — six 
— ^years ago? You have already refused to an- 
swer. You relate only a few inconsequential 
and outre trifles. To cover up — What? 
What ?" she repeated. 

Then she transfixed him with her eye; the 
dogs transfixed him with their eyes. Accusing- 
ly? Not all of them. Naughty's glance ex- 



32 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

pressed approval ; his tail underwent a friendly 
agitation. 

"Naughty !" said the lady sharply. Naughty 
gamboled around Horatio. 

"How odd!" murmured the mistress, more 
to herself than the other. "How very extraor- 
dinary !" 

"What, Madam ?" he ventured. 

"That Naughty, who so seldom takes to 
strangers, should — " she found herself saying. 

"Perhaps it's the scent of the gasolene," he 
suggested. 

"It's in spite of the gasolene," she retorted 
sharply. 

And for some moments ruminated. It was 
not until afterward Mr. Heatherbloom learned 
that her confidence in Naughty's instinct 
amounted to a hobby. Only once had she 
thought him at fault in his likes or dislikes of 
people; when he had showed a predilection for 
the assistant rector's shapely calves. But after 
that gentleman's elopement with a lady of the 
choir and his desertion of wife and children, 
Naughty's erstwhile disrespect for the cloth. 



VARYING FORTUNES 33 

which Miss Van Rolsen had grieved over, be- 
came illumined with force and significance. 
Thereafter she had never doubted him ; he had 
barked at all twelve of Mr. Heatherbloom's 
predecessors — ^the dozen other answers to the 
advertisement; but here he was sedulous for 
fondlings from Horatio. Extraordinary truly! 
The lady hesitated. 

"I suppose we shall all be murdered in our 
beds/' she said half to herself, "but," with sud- 
den decision, "Fve concluded to engage you." 

"And my duties?" ventured Mr. Heather- 
bloom. "The advertisement did not say." 

"You are to exercise the darlings every day 
in the park." 

"Ah!" Horatio's exclamation was non- 
committal. What he might have added was 
interrupted by a light footstep in the hall and 
the voice of some one who stopped in passing 
before the door. 

"I am going now. Aunt," said a voice. 

Mr. Heatherbloom started; his hand tight- 
ened on the back of a chair; from where he 
stood he could see but the rim of a wonderful 



34 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

hat He gazed at a few waving roses, fitting 
notes of color as it were, for the lovely face 
behind, concealed from him by the curtain. 

The elderly lady answered; Mr. Heather- 
bloom heard a Prince Someone's name men- 
tioned; then the roses were whisked back; 
the voice — musical as silver bells — receded, 
and the front door closed. .Mr. Heatherbloom 
gazed around him — ^at the furnishings in the 
room — she who stood before him. He seemed 
bewildered. 

"And now as to your wages," said a voice — 
not silver bells ! — ^sharply. 

"I hardly think I should prove suitable — " 
he began in somewhat panic-stricken tones, 
when — 

"Nonsense !" The word, or the energy im- 
parted to it, appeared to crush for the moment 
further opposition on his part ; his faculties be- 
came concentrated on a sound without, of a 
big car gathering headway in front of the door. 
Mr. Heatherbloom listened ; perhaps he would 
have liked to retreat then and there from tliat 
house; but it was too late! Fate had precipi- 



VARYING FORTUNES 35 

tated him here. A mad tragic jest! He did 
not catch the amount of his proposed stipend 
that was mentioned; he even forgot for the 
moment he was hungry. He could no longer 
hear the car. It had gone; but, it would re- 
turn. Return! And then — ? His head 
whirled at the thought 



CHAPTER III 

AN ENCOUNTER 

MR. HEATHERBLOOM, a few days 
later, sat one morning in Central Park. 
His canine charges were tied to the bench and 
while they chafed at restraint and tried vainly 
to get away and chase squirrels, he scrutinized 
one of the pages of a newspaper some person 
had left there. What the young man read 
seemed to give him no great pleasure. He put 
down the paper ; then picked it up again and re- 
garded a snap-shot illustration occupying a 
conspicuous position on the society page. 

"Prince Boris Strogareff, riding in the 
park," the picture was labeled. The newspa- 
per photographer had caught for his sensa- 
tional sheet an excellent likeness of a foreign 
visitor in whom New York was at the time 
greatly interested. A picturesque personality — 

36 



AN ENCOUNTER 37 

the prince — ^half distinguished gentleman, half 
bold brigand in appearance, was depicted on a 
superb bay, and looked every inch a horseman. 
Mr. Heatherbloom continued to stare at the 
likeness; the features, dark, rather wild-look- 
ing, as if a trace of his ancient Tartar ancestry 
had survived the cultivating touch of time. 
Then the young man on the bench once more 
turned his attention to the text accompanying 
the cut 

"Reported engagement of Miss Elizabeth 
Dalr3miple to Prince Boris Strogareff . . . 
the prince has vast estates in Russia and Rus- 
sia-Asia ... his forbears were prominent 
in the days when Crakow was building and the 
Cossacks and the Poles were engaged in con- 
stant strife on the steppe . . . Miss Dal- 
rymple, with whom this stalwart romantic per- 
sonage is said to be deeply enamored, is niece 
and heiress of the eccentric Miss Van Rolsen, 
the third richest woman in New York, and, 
probably, in the world. . . . Miss Dalrym- 
ple is the only surviving daughter of Charles 
Dalrymple of San Francisco, who made his 



38 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

fortune with Martin Ferguson of the same 
place, at the time — " 

The paper fell from Mr. Heatherbloom's 
hand; for several moments he sat motionless; 
then he got up, unloosened his charges and 
moved on. They naturally became once more 
wild with joy, but he heeded not their exuber- 
ances ; even Naughty 's demonstrations brought 
no answering touch of his hand, that now lift- 
ed to his breast and took something from his 
pocket — ^an article wrapped in a pink tissue- 
paper. Mr. Heatherbloom unfolded the warm- 
tinted covering with light sedulous fingers and 
looked steadily and earnestly at a miniature. 
But only for a brief interval; by this time 
Curly et al. had become an incomprehensible 
tangle of dog and leading strings about Mr. 
Heatherblo<Mn's legs. So much so, indeed, that 
in the effort to extricate himself he dropped the 
tiny picture; with a sudden passionate exclama- 
tion he stooped for it. The anger that trans- 
formed his usually mild visage seemed about 
to vent itself on his charges but almost at once 
subsided. 



AN ENCOUNTER 39 

Carefully brushing the picture on his coat, he 
replaced it in his pocket and quietly started 
to disentangle his charges from himself. This 
was at length accomplished; he knew, how- 
ever, that the unraveling would have to be 
done all over again ere long; it constituted an 
important part of his duties. The promenade 
was ptmctuated by about so many "mix-ups" ; 
Mr. Heatherbloom accepted them philosoph- 
ically, or absent-mindedly. At any rate, while 
untying knots or disengaging things, he usu- 
ally exhibited much patience. 

It might have been noticed some time later 
that Mr. Heatherbloom, retracing his foot- 
steps to Miss Van Rolsen's, betrayed a rather 
vacillating and uncertain manner, as if he were 
somewhat reluctant to go into, or to approach 
too near the old-fashioned stiff and stately 
house. For fear of meeting some one, or a 
dread of some sudden encounter ? With Miss 
Van Rolsen's niece? So far he had not seen 
her since that first day. Perhaps he congratu- , 
lated himself on his good fortune in this re- 
spect. If so, he reckoned without his host. 



40 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

It is possible for two people to frequent the 
same house for quite a while without meet- 
ing when one of them lives on the avenue 
side and flits back and forth via the front steps, 
while the other comes and goes only by the 
subterranean route; but, sooner or later, 
though belonging to widely different worlds, 

these two are bound to come face to face, even 

•i 

in spite of the determination of one of the per- 
sons to avert such a contingency ! 

Mr. He^therbloom always peered carefully 
about before venturing from the house with 
his pampered charges; he was no less watch- 
fully alert when he returned. He could not, 
however, having only five senses, tell when the 
front door might be suddenly opened at an 
inopportune moment. It was opened, this very 
morning, on the third day of his probation at 
such a moment. And he had been planning, 
after reading the newspaper article in the park, 
to tender his resignation that very afternoon ! 

It availed him nothing now to regret indeci- 
sion, his being partly coerced by the masterful 
mistress of the house into remaining as long 



AN ENCOUNTER 41 

as he had remained; or to lament that other 
sentiment, conspiring to this end — ^the desire 
or determination, not to flee from what he 
most feared. Empty bravado! If he could 
but flee now ! But there was no fleeing, turn- 
ing, retreating, or evading. The issue had to 
be met. 

Miss Dalrymple, gowned in a filmy material 
which lent an evanescent charm to her slender 
figure, came down the front steps as he was 
about to enter the area way below. The girl 
looked at him and her eyes suddenly widened ; 
she stopped. Mr. Heatherbloom, quite pale, 
bowed and would have gone on, when some- 
thing in her look, or the first word that fell 
from her lips, held him. 

"You!" she said, as if she did not at all com- 
prehend. 

He repaid her regard with less steady look ; 
he had to say something and he didn't wish to. 
Why couldn't people just meet and pass on, 
the way dumb creatures do? The gift of speech 
has its disadvantages — on occasions; it forces 
one to insufficient answer or superfluous ex- 



42 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

planation. "Yes/* he said, "your — Miss Van 
Rolsen engaged me. I didn't really want to 
stay, but it came about Some things do, you 
know. You see," he. added, "I didn't know she 
was your aunt when I answered the advertise- 
ment." 

She bent her gaze down upon him as if she 
hardly heard ; beneath the bright adornment of 
tints, the lovely face — it was a very proud face 
— ^had become icy cold; the violet eyes were 
hard as shining crystal. To Mr. Heatherbloom 
that slender figure, tensely poised, seemed at 
once overwhelmingly near and inexpressibly 
remote. He started to lean on an iron picket 
but changed his mind and stood rather too 
stiffly, without support. Before his eyes the 
flowers in her hat waved and waved ; he tried 
to keep his eyes on them. 

"I had been intending," he observed in tones 
he endeavored* to make light, "to tell Miss Van 
Rolsen she must find some one else to take my 
place. It would not be very difficult. It is not 
a position that requires a trained man." 

"Difficult?" She seemed to have difficulty 



AN ENCOUNTER 43 

in speaking the word; her cold eyes suddenly 
lighted with unutterable scorn. If any one in 
this world ever experienced thorough disdain 
for any one else, her expression implied it was 
she that experienced it for him. "Valet for 
dogs !" 

Mr. Heatherbloom flushed. 'They are very 
nice dogs," he murmured. "Indeed, they are 
exceptional." 

She gave an abrupt, frozen little laugh ; then 
bent down her face slightly. "And do you wash 
and curl and perfume them?" she asked, her 
small white teeth setting tightly after she 
spoke. 

"Well, I don^t perfume them," answered Mr. 
Heatherbloom. "Miss Van Rolsen attends to 
that herself. She knows the particular essences 
better than I." A slightly strained smile strug- 
gled about his lips. "You see Beauty has one 
kind, and Naughty another. At least, I think 
so. While Sardanapolis isn't given any at all." 

Can violet eyes shine fiercely? Hers cer- 
tainly seemed to. "How," she said, examining 
him as one would study something very re- 



44 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

mote and impersonal, "did my aunt happen to 
employ — ^you? I know she is very particular 
— about recommendations. What ones did 
you have ? Were they forged ones," suddenly, 
"or stolen ones?" The red lips like rosebuds 
had become straightly drawn now. 

"No," answered Mr. Heatherbloom. "I 
didn't have any. I just came, and — " 

"Saw and conquered!" said the girl. But 
there was no levity in her tone. She continued 
to gaze at him and yet through him ; at some- 
thing beyond — ^afar — "I don't tmderstand 
why she should have takeh you — " 
^Shall I explain?" 

'And I don't care why she did!" Not no- 
ticing his interruption. "The principal thing is, 
why did you want this position? What ulte- 
rior motive lay behind?" She was speaking 
now almost automatically, as if he were not 
present. "For, of course, there was some other 
motive." 

"The truth is," observed Mr. Heatherbloom 
lightly, but passing an uncertain hand over his 
brow. "I had reached that point — I should 



t<t 



(t 



AN ENCOUNTER 45 

qualify by saying I have long been at the point 
where one is willing to take any 'honest work 
of any kind'. I suppose you have heard the 
phrase before ; it's a common one. But believe 
me, it was quite by accident I came here; 
quite !" 

" 'Believe you'," said the girl, as one would 
address an inferior for the purpose of putting 
him into the category where he belongs. 
" 'Honest work' I When have you been par- 
ticular as to that; whether or not" — ^with 
mocking irony in the pitiless violet eyes — "it 
was 'honest'?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom started ; his gaze met hers 
unwaveringly. "You don't think, then, that 
I—" 

"Think?" said the girl. "I know." 

"Would you mind — explaining?" he asked 
quietly. He didn't need any support now, but 
stood with head well back, a steady gleam in 
his look. "What you — ^know ?" 

"I know — ^you are a thief !" She spoke the 
words fiercely. 

His face twitched. "How do you know ?" 



i 



46 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

**By the kind of evidence I can believe." 

**And that ?" he said in the same quiet voice. 

"The evidence of my own eyes!" 

He was still, as if thinking. He looked 
down ; then away. 

"Why don't you protest?" she demanded 

"Protest," he repeated. 

"Or ask me to explain further — " 

"Well, explain further," he said patiently. 

"Put your mind back three weeks ago — at 
about eleven o'clock in the morning. Where 
were you? what were you doing? what was 
happening ?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom looked very thoughtful. 

"At the comer of" — ^she mentioned the 
streets — "not far from Riverside Drive. We 
passed at that time in the car. Need I say 
more ?" 

His head was downbent. "I think I under- 
stand." His hand stroked tentatively his chin. 

The silence grew; Beauty barked, but nei- 
ther seemed to notice. 

"Of course you can't deny?" she observed. 



AN ENCOUNTER 47 

**0f course not/' he said, without moving. 

"You won't defend yourself; plead palliat- 
ing causes ?" ironically. 

He picked at the ground with the toe of a 
shoe. "If I told you, on my honor, I am not — 
what you have called me just now, would you 
believe me?" he asked gravely. 

"On your honor," said the girl with a cruel 
smile. "Yours? No!" 

"Then," he spoke as if to himself, "I don't 
suppose there's any use in denying. Your mind 
is made up." 

"My mind !" she answered. "Can I not see ; 
hear? Can you not hear — ^those voices? Do 
they not follow you ?" 

He seemed striving for an answer but could 
not find it. Once he looked into the violet eyes 
questioningly, deeply, as if seeking there to 
read what he should say, but they flashed only 
the hard rays of diamonds at him, and he 
turned his head slowly away. 

"I see," she remarked, "you remember; but 
you do not care." 



48 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"I — ^you reconcile the idea of my being that 
very easily with — " 

"It fits perfectly," said the girl, "with the 
rest of the picture ; what one has already pieced 
together; it is just another odd-shaped black 
bit that goes in snugly. You appreciate the 
comparison ?" 

"I think I do/' answered Mr. Heatherbloom. 
"You are alluding to picture puzzles. Is there 
anything more?" He started as if to go. 

"One moment — of course, you can't stay 
here," said the girl. 

"I had intended to go at once, as I told you," 
observed Mr. Heatherbloom. 

"You had ? You mean you will ?" 

"No ; I won't go now. That is," he added, 
"of my own volition." 

"You do well to qualify. Would you not 
prefer to go of your own volition than to have 
me inform my aunt who you are — ^what you 
are?" 

He shook his head. "I won't resign now," 
he said. 

"And so show yourself a fool as well as — " 



AN ENCOUNTER 49 

She did not speak the word, but it trembled on 
the sweet passionate lips. 

He did not answer. 

"Suppose," she went on, "I offer you the 
chance and do not speak, if you will go — ^imme- 
diately?" 

"I can't," he answered. 

Her brows bent; her little hand seemed to 
clench. But he stood without looking at her, 
appearing absorbed in a tiny bit of cloud in 
the sky. 

"Very well !" she said, a dangerous glint in 
her eyes. 

He looked quite insignificant at the moment; 
she was far above him ; his clothes were thread- 
bare, the way thieves' clothes, or pickpockets', 
usually are. 

"If you expect any mercy from me — " she 
began. 

But she did not finish; a figure, approaching, 
caught her eye — ^the handsome stalwart figure 
of a man; whose features lighted at sight of 
her. 

"Ah, MissDalrymple!" 



50 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Her face changed. "An unexpected pleas- 
ure, Prince," she said with almost an excess of 
gaiety. 

He answered in kind; she came down the' 
steps quickly, offering him her hand. And as 
he gallantly raised the small perfumed fingers 
to his lips, Mr. Heatherbloom seemed to fade 
away into the dark subterranean entrance. 



CHAPTER IV 

FATE AT THE DOOR 

A LTHOUGH Mr. Heatherbloom waited 
jr\, expectantly that day for his dismissal, 
it did not come. This surprised him some- 
what; then he reflected that Miss Elizabeth 
Dalrymple was probably so absorbed in the 
prince— remembering her rather effusive greet- 
ing of that fortunate individual — she had for- 
gotten such a small matter as having the dog 
valet ejected from the premises. She would 
remember on the morrow, of course. 

But she didn't! The hours passed, and he 
was suffered to go about the even, or uneven, 
tenor of his way. This he did mechanically; 
he scrubbed and combed Beauty beautifully. 
With a dire sense of fate knocking at the door, 
he passed her on to Miss Van Rolsen, to be 
freshly be-ribboned by that lady's own particu- 

51 



52 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

lar hand. The thin bony finger he thought 
would be pointed accusingly at him, busied it- 
self solely with the knots and bows of a new 
ribbon; after which the grim lady dismissed 
him — from her presence, not the house — 
curtly. 

Several days went by; still no one accused 
him; he was still suffered to remain. Why? 
He could not understand. At the end of a long 
— ^seemingly interminable week — he put him- 
self deliberately in the way of finding out. 
Coming to, or going from the house, he lin- 
gered around the area entrance, purposely to 
encounter her whom he had heretofore, above 
all others, wished to avoid. A feverish desire 
possessed him to meet the worst, and then go 
about his way, no matter where it might lead 
him. He was past solicitude in that regard. 
He did at length manage to meet her — not as 
before in the full daylight but toward dusk, as 
she returned, this time on foot, to the house. 

"Miss Dalrymple, may I speak to you?" he 
said to the indistinctly seen, slender figure that 
started lightly up the front steps. 



FATE AT THE DOOR 53 

She did not even stop, although she must 
have heard him ; a moment he saw her like a 
shadow; then the front door opened. He 
heard a crisp metallic click; the door closed. 
Slowly with head a little downbent he walked 
out, up the way she had come; then around 
the comer a short distance to the stables over 
which he had his room. 

It was a nice room, he had at first thought, 
probably because he liked horses. They — four 
or five thoroughbreds — whinnied as he opened 
the door. He had started up the dark narrow 
stairs to his chamber, but stopped at that 
sound and groped about from stall to stall 
passing around the expected lumps of sugar. 
After which all seemed well as far as he. and 
they were concerned. 

Only that other problem! — ^he could not 
shake it from him. To resign now? — ^under 
fire? How he wished he might! But to re- 
main? — ^his situation was intolerable. He 
went up to his room feeling like a ghost; his 
mind was full of dark presences, as if he had 
lived a thousand times before and had been 



54 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

surrounded only by hostile influences that now 
came back in the still watches of the night to 
haunt him. 

He dreaded going to the house the next day, 
but he went Perhaps, he reflected, she was 
only allowing him to retain his present posi- 
tion under a kind of espionage; to trap him and 
put him beyond the pale of respectable society. 
He remembered the cruel lips, the passionate 
dislike — contempt — even hatred — in her eyes. 
Yes; that might be it — ^the reason for her 
temporary silence; the house was full of valu- 
able things ; sooner or later — 

"Are you quite satisfied, Madam, with my 
services?" said Mr. Heatherbloom that after- 
noon to Miss Van Rolsen. 

"You seem to do well enough," she answered 
shortly. 

He brightened. "Perhaps some one else 
would do better." 

"Perhaps," she returned dryly. "But I'm not 
going to try." 

"But," he said desperately, "I— I don't 
think they — the dogs, like me quite so much 



FATE AT THE DOOR 55 

as they did. Naughty, in particular," he 
added quickly. "I — I thought yesterday he 
would have liked to — growl and nip at me." 

"Did he," she asked, studying him with dis- 
concerting keenness, "actually do that?" 

"No. But—" 

"Do I understand you wish to give me no- 
tice?" she interrupted sharply. 

"Not at all." In an alarmed tone. "I 
couldn't — I mean I wouldn't do that. Only I 
thought you might have felt dissatisfied — ^peo- 
ple usually do with me," he added impressive- 
ly. "So if you would like to give me — " 

She made a gesture. "That will do. I am 
very busy this morning. The begging list, 
though smaller than usual — only three hundred 
and seventy-six letters — has to be attended to." 

Thus the matter of Mr. Heatherbloom's 
staying or going continued, much to that per- 
son's discomfiture, in statu quo. It is true he 
found, later, a compromising course; a way 
out of the difficulty — ^as he thought, little know- 
ing the extraordinary new web he was weav- 
ing! — ^but before that time came, several things 



56 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

happened. In the first place he discovered that 
Miss Dalr3rmple was not entirely pleased at the 
publication of the story of her engagement to 
the prince ; her position — ^her family's and that 
of Miss Van Rolsen, was such that newspaper 
advertising or notoriety could not but be dis- 
tasteful. 

"I hope people won't think I keep a social 
secretary," Mr. Heatherbloom heard her say. 

Yes, heard her. He was in the dogs' 
"boudoir"; the conservatory adjoined. He 
could not help being where he was ; he belonged 
there at the time. Nor could he help hearing; 
he didn't try to listen ; he certainly didn't wish 
to, though she had a very sweet voice — ^that 
soothed one to a species of lotus dream — for- 
getfulness of soap-suds, or the odor of canine 
disinfectant permeating the white foam — 

"Why should they think you have a social 
secretary?" the voice of a man — ^the prince — 
inquired. 

He had deep fine tones ; truly Russian tones, 
with a subtle vibration in them. 

"Because when such things are published 



FATE AT THE DOOR 57 

about people their secretaries usually put them 
in," returned the girl. 

He was silent a moment ; Mr. Heatherbloom 
thought he heard the breaking of the stem of 
a flower. 

"You were very much irritated — angry?" 
observed the prince at length, quietly. 

"Weren't you ?" she asked. 

"I ? No. It is a bourgeois confession, per- 
haps." 

Mr. Heatherbloom sat up straighter; the 
water dripped from his fingers. 

"I was pleased," went on the sonorous low 
voice. "I wished — it were so !" 

There was a sudden movement in the con- 
servatory; a rustling of leaves, or of a gown; 
then — Mr. Heatherbloom relaxed in surprise — 
a peal of merry laughter filled the air. 

"How apropos! How well you said that!" 

"Miss Dalrymple!" There was a slightly 
rising inflection in the man's tones. "You 
doubt my sincerity?" 

"The sincerity of a Russian prince? No, 
indeed!" she returned gaily. 



i 



58 A MAN AND HIS MCJNEY 

* 

**I am in earnest," he said simply.. 

**Don't be!" Mr. Heatherbloom could, in 
fancy, see the flash of a white hand amid red 
flowers; eyes dancing like violets in the wind. 
He could perceive, also, as plainly as if he were 
in that other room, the deep ardent eyes of 
the prince downbent upon the blither ones, 
the commanding figure of the man near that 
other slender, almost illusive presence. A 
flower to be grasped only by a bold wooer, like 
the prince ! 

"Don't be," she repeated. **You are so much 
more charming when you are not. I think I 
heard that line in a play once. One of the 
Robertson kind; it was given by a stock com- 
pany in San Francisco. That's where I came 



from, you know. Have you ever been 
there?" 

"No," said the prince slowly. 

Dark eyes trying to beat down the merriment 
in the blue ones ! Mr. Heatherbloom could, in 
imagination, "fill in" all the stage details. If 
It only were "stage" dialogue; "stage" talk; 
not "playing with love", in earnest ! 



FATE AT THE DOOR 59 

"Playing with love!" Jle had read a book 
of that name once; somewhere. In Italy? — 
yes. It sounded like an Italian title. Some- 
thing very disagreeable happened to the hero- 
ine. A woman, or a girl, can not lightly "play 
with love" with a Sicilian. But, of course, the 
prince wasn't a Sicilian. 

"No," he was saying now with admirable 
poise, in answer to her question, "I haven^t 
visited your wonderful Golden Gate, but I 
hope to go there some day — ^with you!" he 
added. His words were simple; the accent 
alone made them sound formidable; it seemed 
to convey an impregnable purpose, one pot to 
be shaken or disturbed. 

Mr. Heatherbloom felt vaguely disturbed; 
his heart pounded oddly. He half started to 
get up, then sank back. He waited for another 
peal of laughter; it didn't come. Why? 

"Of course I should have no objection to 
your being one of a train party," said Miss 
Dalrymple at length. 

"That isn't just what I mean," returned the 
prince in his courtliest tones. But it wasn't 



6o A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

hard to picture him now with a glitter in his 
gaze, — ^immovable, sure of himself. 

There was a rather long pause ; broken once 
more by Miss Dalrymple : "Shall we not re- 
turn to the music room ?" 

That interval? What had it meant? Mute 
acquiescence on her part, a down-turning of 
the imperious lashes before the steadfastness 
of the other's look? — tacit assent? The cast- 
ing off of barriers, the opening of the gates 
of the divine inner citadel ? Mr. Heatherbloom 
was on his feet now. He took a step toward 
the door, but paused. Of course ! Something 
clammy had fallen from his hand; lay damp 
and dripping on the rug. He stared at it — ^a 
bar of soap. 

What had he been about to do — ^he! — to 
step in there — into the conservatory, with his 
bar of soap? — ^grotesque anomaly! His face 
wore a strange expression; he was laughing 
inwardly. Oh, how he was laughing at him- 
self! Fortunately he had a saving sense of 
humor. 

What had next been said in the conserva- 



FATE AT THE DOOR 6i 

tory ? What was now being said there ? He 
heard words but they had no meaning for him. 
"I will send you the second volume of The 
Fire and Sword trilogy," went on the prince. 
"One of my ancestors figures in it. The 
hero — who is not exactly a hero, perhaps, 
in the heroine's mind, for a time— <ioes what 
he must do; he has what he must have. He 
claims what nature made for him; he knows 
no other law than that of his imperishable 
inner self. I, too, must rise to those heights 
my eyes are set on. It must be ; it is written. 
We are fatalists, we Russians near the Tartar 
line ! And you and I" — fervently — "were pre- 
destined for each other." 

Mr. Heatherbloom had but dimly heard the 
prince's words and failed to grasp them; he 
didn't want to; his head was humming. Her 
light answer sounded as if she might be very 
happy. Yes; naturally. She was made to be 
happy, to dance about like sunshine. He liked 
to think of the picture. The prince, too, was 
necessary to complete it; necessary, reaffirmed 
Mr. Heatherbloom to himself, pulling with 



62 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

damp fingers at the inconsequential lock of hair 
over his brow. Of course, if the prince could 
be eliminated from that mental picture of her 
felicity? — ^but he was a part of the composi- 
tion ; big, barbaric, romantic looking ! In fact, 
it wouldn't have been an adequate composition 
at all without him ; no, indeed ! 

And something rose in Mr. Heatherbloom's 
throat; one of his eyes— or was it both of 
them? — seemed a little misty. That con- 
founded soap ! It was strong ; a bit of it in the 
comer of the eyes made one blink. 

The two in the conservatory said some- 
thing more; but the young man in the 
"boudoir" didn't catch it at all well. By some 
intense mental process, or the sound of the 
scrubber on the edge of the tub, he found he 
could shut a definite cognizance of words al- 
most entirely from his sense of hearing. The 
prince's voice seemed slightly louder; that, in 
a general way, was patent; no doubt the occa- 
sion warranted more fervor on his part Mr. 
Heatherbloom tried to imagine what she would 
look like in — ^so to say, a very complaisant 



FATE AT THE DOOR 63 

mood; not with flaming glance full of aversion 
and scorn! 

Violet eyes replete only with love lights! 
Mr. Heatherbloom bent lower over the tub ; his 
four-footed charge Beauty, contentedly im- 
mersed to the neck in nice comfortably warm 
water, licked him. He did not feel the touch; 
the fragrance of orchids seemed to come to 
him above that other more healthful, less agree- 
able odor of special cleansing preparation. 

Her accents were heard once more. Those 
final words sounded like a soft command. 
Naturally! She could command the prince — 
now! Mr. Heatherbloom heard a door close 
— Si replica of the harsh click he had listened 
to when she had shut the front door so un- 
ceremoniously on him a short time before. 
Then he heard nothing more. He gazed around 
him as he sat with his hands tightly closed. Had 
it been only a dream? Naughty whined; Sar- 
danapolis edged toward him and mechanically 
he began to brush him down until he shone as 
sleek and shining as his Assyrian namesake. 



CHAPTER V 

A CONTRETEMPS 

MORE days passed and Mr. Heather- 
bloom continued to linger in his last 
position. It promised to be a record-making 
situation from the standpoint of longevity; he 
had never "lasted" at any one task so long be- 
fore. Miss Van Rolsen, to his consternation, 
seemed to unbend somewhat before him, as if 
she were beginning — actually! — ^to be more 
prepossessed in his favor. These evidences that 
he was rising in the stem lady's good graces 
filled Mr. Heatherbloom with new dismay ; des- 
tiny certainly seemed to be making a mock of 
him. 

A week went by; two weeks — ^three, and 
still twice a day he continued to march to and 
from the park with his charges. The faces 
of all the nurse-maids and others who fre- 

64 



A CONTRETEMPS 65 

quented the big parallelogram of green be- 
came familiar to him; he learned to know by 
sig^t the people who rode in the park and 
had a distant acquaintance with the squirrels. 

He became, for the first time, aware one day, 
from the perusal of a certain newspaper he al- 
ways purchased now, that the prince had re- 
turned to Russia. Although Miss Dalrymple 
refused to be interviewed, or to confirm or 
deny any statement, it was generally under- 
stood (convenient phrase!) that the wedding 
would take place in the fall at the old Van Rol- 
sen home. The prince had left America in his 
yacht — ^the Nevski — for St. Petersburg, an- 
nounced the society editor. After a special in- 
terview with the czar and a few necessary 
business arrangements, the nobleman would re- 
turn at once for his bride. And, perhaps, he — 
Mr. Heatherbloom — would still be at his post 
of duty at the Van Rolsen house ! 

Since the day the prince had been with Miss 
Dalrymple in the conservatory, Mr. Heather- 
bloom had not seen, or rather heard, that gen- 
tleman at the house. But then he — Mr. 



66 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Heatherbloom — ^belonged in the rear, and, no 
doubt, the prince had continued to be a daily, 
or twice, or three-times-a-day visito** to Miss 
Van Rolsen's elegant, if somewhat stiff, re- 
ception rooms. Now, however, he would come 
no more until he came finally to "t^ke with 
him the bride — " 

The thought was in Horatio's mind when 
for a third time he encountered her, face to 
face, on a landing, near a stair, or somewhere 
in the house, he couldn't afterward just exact- 
ly recall where, only that she looked through 
him, without recognition, speech or movement 
of an eyelash, as if he had been a thing of 
thin air! But a thing that became suddenly im- 
bued with real life ; inspired with purpose ! She 
had permitted him to remain in the house, 
knowing his professed helplessness in the mat- 
ter — she must have divined that — ^playing with 
him as a tigress with a victim (yes; a tigress! 
Mr. Heatherbloom wildly, on the spur of the 
moment, compared her in his mind to that 
fierce beautiful creature). He would force her 
to tell him to go ; she would certainly not suffer 



A CONTRETEMPS (>7 

him to remain there another day if he told 
her — 

"Miss Dalrymple, there is something I ought 
to say. I could not help overhearing you and 
the prince, one day, several weeks ago, in the 
conservatory." 

After he said it, he asked himself what ex- 
cuse he had for saying it. If he had stopped 
to analyze the impulse, he would have seen how 
absurd, unreasonable and uncalled for his 
words were. But he had no time to analyze; 
like a diver who plunges suddenly, on some 
mad impulse, into a whirlpool, he had cast 
himself into the vortex. 

She looked at him and there was nothing in 
nubibus to her about his presence now. The 
violet eyes saw a substance — such as it was; 
recognized a reality — of its kind ! Before the 
clouds gathering in their depths, Mr. Heather- 
bloom felt inclined to excuse himself and go 
on; but instead, he waited. There was even 
a furtive smile on his lips that belied a quick 
throbbing in his breast ; he thrust one hand as 
debonairly as possible into his trousers pocket 







68 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

His attitude might have been interpreted to 
express indifference, recklessness, or one or 
more of the synonymous feelings. She thought 
so badly of him already that she couldn't think 
much worse, and — 

"So," — ^had she been paler than her wont, 
or had excess of passion sent the color from 
her face? — "you are a spy as ,jjeUr 

His head shot back a little at the accent on 
the "well", but he thrust his hand yet deeper 
into the pocket and strove not to lose that 
assumed expression of ease. 

"I — z spy ? I did not intend to— you — " He 
paused; if he wished to set himself right in 
her eyes, why should he have spoken at all? 
Mr. Heatherbloom saw he had not quite argued 
out this matter as he should have done; his 
bearing became less assured. 

"Is there" — her voice low and tense — ^"any- 
thing despicable, mean, paltry enough that you 
are not ?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom moistened his lips; he 
strove to think of a reply, sufficiently compre- 
hensive to cover all the features of the case. 



A CONTRETEMPS 69 

but not finding one at once apologetic and yet 
not so, remained silent He made, however, 
a little gesture with his hand — ^the one that 
wasn't in th^ pocket. That seemed to imply 
something; he didn't quite know what 

She came slightly closer and his heart began 
to pound harder. A breath of perfume seemed 

to ascend between them; the arrows in her 

« 

eyes darted into his. "How much — what 
did you hear?" she demanded. 

"I — ^am really not sure — " Was it the orchids 
which perfumed the air? He had always heard 
they were odorless. The question intruded; 
his brain seemed capable of a dual capacity, 
or of a general incapacity of simultaneous con- 
siderations. He might possibly have stepped 
back a little now but there was a wall, the 
broad blank wall behind him. He wished he 
were that void she had first seemed to see — 
or not to see — in hini. 'T didn't hear very 
much — the first p2irt, I imagine — " 

"The first part?" Roses of anger burned 
on her cheek. "And afterward? — spy!" Her 
little hands were tight against her side. 



i 



70 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He hesitated ; her foot moved ; all that was 
passionate, vibrant in her nature seemed con- 
centrated on him. 

"I don't think I caught much; but I heard 
him say something about fate, or destiny, and 
men coming into their own — that old Greek 
kind of talk, don't you know — " He spoke 
lightly. Why not? There was no need of be- 
ing melodramatic. What had to be must be. 
He couldn't alter her, or what she would 
think. "Then — then I was too busy to catch 
more — ^that is, if I had wanted to — which I 
didn't!" He was forced to add the last; it 
burst from his lips with sudden passion; then 
they curved a little as if to ask excuse for a 
superfluity. 

She continued to look at him, and he looked 
at her now, squarely ; a strange calm descended 
upon him. 

"And that," he said, "is all I heard, or knew, 
until this morning, when I saw in the paper," 
dreamily, "he was coming back in the fall 
for—" 

The color concentrated with sudden swift 



A CONTRETEMPS 71 

brightness in her cheeks. "You saw that — 
any one — every one saw — Oh — " 

She started to speak further, then bit her lip, 
while the lace stirred beneath the white throat. 
Mr. Heatherbloom had not followed what she 
said, was cognizant only of her anger. Her 
eyes were fastened on something beyond him, 
but returned soon, very soon. 

"Oh,*' she said, "I might have known — if 
I let you stay, through pity, you would — ^" 

Tity!" said Mr. Heatherbloom. 
^Because I did not want to turn you out 
into the street — " 

She spoke the words fiercely. Mr. Heather- 
bloom seemed now quite impervious to stab 
or thrust 

"I permitted you to remain for" — she 
stopped — "remembering what you once were; 
who your people were! What" — flinging the 
words at him — "you might have been. In- 
stead — of what you are!" 

Mr. Heatherbloom gazed now without winc- 
ing; an unnatural absence of feeling seemed 
to have passed over his features, making them 



<(• 



ir 



I 



^2 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

almost mask-like. It was as if he stood in 
some new pellucid atmosphere of his own. 

"Of course," he said, as half speaking to 
himself, "I must have earned my salary, or 
Miss Van Rolsen wouldn't have retained me. 
So I am not a recipient of charity. Therefore," 
— did the word suggest far-away school-boy 
lessons on syllogisms and sophistries — "I have 
no right to feel offended in that you let me re- 
main, you say, 'through pity', when as a mat- 
ter of fact it was impossible for me to tender 
my resignation, in view of — " He finished the 
rest of a rather involved logical conclusion to 
himself, taking his hand out of his pocket 
now and passing it lightly, in a somewhat 
dragging fashion, over his eyes. Then he 
gazed momentarily beyond, as if he saw some- 
thing appertaining to the "auld lang syne", 
but recalled himself with a start to the beauti- 
ful face, the threads of gold, the violet eyes. 

"You will see to it now, of course" — ^his 
manner became brisk, almost businesslike — 
"that I, as a factor, am eliminated here ? That, 
I may conclude, is your intention?" 



A CONTRETEMPS 73 



ti^ 



Tcrhaps," said the girl, a sibyl for intent- 
ness now, "you would prefer to go? To be 
asked to! You would find the streets"-^with 
swift discerning contempt — "more profitable 
for your purpose than here, where you are 
known." 

"Perhaps," assented Mr. Heatherbloom. 
He spoke quite airily ; then suddenly stiffened. 

At his words, the sight of him as he uttered 
them, she came abruptly yet nearer ; her breath 
swept and seemed to scorch his cheek. 

"I should think," she said, "you would be 
ashamed to live!" 

"Ashamed ?" he began ; then stopped. There 

was no need of speaking further for she had 
gone. 



CHAPTER VI 

PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 

MR. HEATHERBLOOM drifted; not 
"looking for a way", one was forced 
upon him. It came to him unexpectedly; 
chance served him. He would have thrust 
it from him but could not. During his more 
or less eccentric peregrinations in Central Park 
he had formed visual acquaintances with sun- 
dry folk; pictures of some of them were very 
dimly impressed on his consciousness, others — 
and the major part — on his subconsciousness. 
Flat faces, big faces, red faces, pale faces! 
One countenance in the last class made itself 
a trifle more insistent than the others. Its 
possessor had watched with interest his prog- 
ress, interrupted with entanglements, and had 
listened to the music of his march, the canine 
fantasia, staccato, affettuoso! Mr. Heather- 

74 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 75 

bloom's halting footsteps in the park gener- 
ally led him to the heights; it wasn't a very 
high point, but it was the highest he could find, 
and he could look off on something — a lake, 
or reservoir of water, he didn't know just 
which, and a jagged sky-line. 

The person that exhibited casual curiosity 
in his movements and his coming thither was 
a woman. She seemed slight and sinuous, sit- 
ting there against the stone parapet, and deep 
dark eyes accentuated the pallor of her face. 
He did not think it strange she should always 
be at this spot when he came ; in fact, it was 
quite a while before he noticed the almost daily 
coincidence of their mutual presence at the 
same place, at about the same time. After her 
first half-sly, half-sedulous regard of him, she 
would look away; her face then wore a soft 
and melancholy expression; she appeared very 
sad. 

It took quite a while for this fact to be com- 
municated to Mr. Heatherbloom. Though 
she shifted her figure often, as if to call atten- 
tion to the pale profile of her face against a 



76 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

leaden sky, his thoughts remained introspect- 
ive. Only the sky-line seemed to interest 
him. But one day something white came danc- 
ing in the breeze to his feet. Absorbed in 
deep neutral tones afar, he did not see it ; his 
four-footed charges, however, were quick to 
perceive the object. 

"Oh!" said the lady. 

Mr. Heatherbloom looked. "Is — is it 
yours ?" he asked. 

"It — was," she remarked witl\ a slight ac- 
cent on the last word. 

He got up ; there seemed little use endeavor- 
ing to rescue the handkerchief now. 

"Fm afraid I've been rather slow," he re- 
marked. "Quite stupid, Fm sure." 

She may have had her own opinion but 
maintained a discreet silence. Mr. Heather- 
bloom stooped and gathered in the remnants. 
"You will permit me," he observed, "to re- 
place it, of course." 

But it was not your fault." 

It was that of my charges, then." 

"No ; the wind. Let's blame it on the wind.'* 



"] 

til 



PLOT AND COUNTER.PLOT yy 

She laughed, her dark eyes full on his, though 
Mr. Heatherbloom seemed hardly to see them. 

After that when they met on this little ele- 
vation, she bowed to him and sometimes ven- 
tured a remark or two. He did not seem 
over-anxious to talk but he met her troubled 
face with calm and unvarying, though some- 
what absent-minded courtesy. He replied to 
her questions perfunctorily, told her whom 
he served, betraying, however, in turn, no 
inquisitiveness concerning her. For him she 
was just some one who came and went, and in- 
cidentally interfered with his study of the sky- 
line. 

By degrees she confided in him; as one so 
alone she was glad of almost any one to confide 
in. She wanted, indeed, needed badly, a situa- 
tion as lady's maid or second maid. She had 
tried and tried for a position; unfortimately 
her recommendations were mostly foreign — 
from Milan, Moscow, Paris. People either 
scrutinized them suspiciously, or mon Dieu! 
couldn't read them. It was hard on her; she 
had had such a time 1 She, a Viennese, with all 



78 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

her experience in France, Italy, Russia, found 
herself at her wits' end in this golden America. 
Wasn't it odd, tres drolef She had laughed 
and laughed when she hadn't cried about it. 

She had even tried singing in a little music- 
hall, a horribly common place, but her voice 
had failed her. Perhaps there was a vacancy 
at Miss Van — what was her name? There 
zvas a place vacant; the maid with the saucy 
nose, Mr. Heatherbloom indifferently vouch- 
safed, had just left to marry out of service. 
'^ "How fortunate !" the fair questioner cried ; 
then sighed. Miss Van Rolsen, being a maid- 
en lady, would probably be most particular 
about recommendations; that they should be of 
the home-made, intelligible brand, from peo- 
ple you could call up by telephone and interro- 
gate. Had she been very particular in his case ? 
Mr. Heatherbloom said "no" — not joyfully, 
and explained. Though she drew words from 
him, he talked to the sky-line. She listened; 
seemed thinking deeply. 

"You are not pleased to be there ?" Keenly. 

"I?— Oh, of course!" Quickly. 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 79 

She did not appear to note his changed man- 
ner. "This Miss Van Rolsen, — isn't she the 
one whose niece — Miss Elizabeth Dalrymple — 
recently refused the hand and heart of a Rus- 
sian prince?" she said musingly. 

"Refused?" he cried suddenly. "You 
mean — " He stopped ; the words had been sur- 
prised from him. 

"Accepted?" She looked at him closer. 
"Of course; I remember now seeing it in the 
paper; I was thinking of some one else. One 
of the other lords, dukes, or noblemen the 
town is so full of just now." 

He got up rather suddenly, bowed and went. 
With narrowing eyes she watched him walk 
away, but when he had gone all melancholy 
disappeared from her face; she stretched her- 
self and laughed. ''Voila! Sonia Turgeinov, 
comedienne !" 

Mr. Heatherbloom did not repair to the 
point of elevation the next day, nor the day 
after; but she met him the third day near tlte 
Seventy-second Street entrance. More than 
that, she insinuated herself at his side ; at first 



8o A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

rather to his discomfort Later he forgot the 
constraint her presence occasioned him, when 
something she said caused him to look upon 
her with new favor. Beauty had momentarily 
escaped his vigilance and enjoyed a mad romp 
after a squirrel before she was captured. 

What, his companion laughingly suggested, 
would have happened if Beauty had really 
escaped, and he, Mr. Heatherbloom, had been 
forced to return to the house without her? 
What ? Mr. Heatherbloom started. He might 
lose his position, n'est-ce pas? He did not an- 
swer. 

The idea was bom; why not lose Beauty? 
No, better still. Naughty; the prime favorite. 
Naughty. He looked into Naughty's eyes, and 
they seemed full of liquid reproach. Naughty 
had been his friend — supposititiously, and to 
abandon him now to the world, a cold place 
devoid of French lamb chops? A hard place 
for homeless dogs and men, alike ! About to 
waive the temptation, Mr. Heatherbloom 
paused; the idea was capable of modification 
or expansion. Most ideas are. 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 8i 

But he shortly afterward dismissed the en- 
tire matter from his mind; it would, at best, 
be but a compromise, an evasion of the pact he 
had made with himself. It was not to be 
thought of. At this moment his companion 
swayed and Mr. Heatherbloom had just time 
to put out his arm ; then helped her to a bench. 

She partly recovered ; it was nothing, she re- 
marked bravely. One gets sometimes a little 
faint when — it was the old, old story of priva- 
tion and want that now fell with seeming re- 
luctance from her lips. Mr. Heatherbloom 
had become all attention. More than that he 
seemed greatly distressed. A woman actually 
in need, starving — no use mincing words ! — in 
Central Park, the playground of the most 
opulent metropolis of the world. It was 
monstrous; he tendered her his purse, with 
several weeks' pay in it Her reply had a 
spirited ring; he felt abashed and returned the 
money to his pocket She sat back with eyes 
half -closed; he saw now that her face looked 
drawn and paler than usual. 

He thought and thought; had he not him- 



82 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

self found out how difficult it was to get a 
position, to procure employment without 
friends and helpers ? iEie, a man, had walked in 
search of it, day after day and felt the griping 
pangs of hunger; had wished for night, and, 
later, wished for the mom, only to find both 
equally barren. 

Suddenly he spoke — ^slowly, like a man stat- 
ing a proposition he has argued carefully in 
his own mind. She listened, approved, while 
hope already transfigured her face. She would 
have thanked him profusely but he did not re- 
main to hear her. In fact, he seemed hardly to 
see her now; his features had become once 
more reserved and introspective. 

He reappeared at the Van Rolsen house that 
day without Naughty. Miss Van Rolsen, 
when she heard the news, burst into tears ; then 
became furious. She was sure he had sold 
Naughty, winner of three blue ribbons, and 
"out of the contest" no end of times because 
superior to all competition ! 

A broken leash ! Fiddlesticks ! She penned 
advertisements wildly and summoned her niece. 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 83 

That young lady responded to protestations 
and questions with a slightly indifferent ex- 
pression on her proud languid features. What 
did she think of it? She didn't really know; 
her manner said she really didn't care. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, standing with the light 
of the window falling pensively upon him, she 
didn't seem to see at all ; he had once more be- 
come a nullity. He rather preferred that role, 
however; perhaps he felt it was easier to im- 
personate annihilation, in the inception, than to 
have it, or a wish for it, thrust later too 
strongly upon him. 

"I adhere to my opinion that he sold Naugh- 
ty. I should never have employed this man," 
asserted Miss Van Rolsen, fastening her fiery 
eyes on Mr. Heatherbloom. "Why don't you 
speak, my dear, and give me your opinion?" 
To her niece. 

"I haven't any. Aunt 
'You are discerning; you have judgment 
Miss Van Rolsen spoke almost hysterically. 
"Remember he" — ^pointing a finger — "came 
without our knowing anything about him." 






1 



84 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Miss Dalrymple did not stir; a bunch of 
bizarre-looking orchids on her gown moved to 
her even rhythmical breathing. "What was 
he? Who was he? Maybe, nothing more 
than — " She paused for want of breath, not of 
words, to characterize her opinion of Mr. 
Heatherbloom. 

He readjusted his posture. - It was very 
bright outdoors; people went by briskly, full 
of life and importance; children whirled along 
on roller skates. 

"When I asked your opinion, my dear, as 
to the wisdom of having employed this person 
in the first place, luider the circumstances, why 
did you keep silent?" Was Miss Van Rolsen 
still talking, or rambling on to the impervious 
beautiful girl? "You should have called me 
foolish, eccentric; yes, that's what I was, to 
have taken him in as I ^id.*' 

Miss Dalrymple raised her brows and moved 
to a piano to adjust the flowers in a vase ; she 
smiled at them with soft enigmatic lips. 

"If I may venture an opinion, Madam," ob- 
served Mr. Heatherbloom in a far-away voice, 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 85 

"I should say Naughty will surely return, or 
be returned/' 

"You venture an opinion!" said Miss Van 
Rolsen. "You!'' 

Miss Dairy mple breathed the fragrance of 
the flowers; she apparently liked it. 

"You are discharged!" said Miss Van Rol- 
sen violently to Mr. Heatherbloom. "I give 
you the two-weeks' notice agreed upon." 

"m waive the notice," suggested the young 
man at the window quickly. 

"You'll do nothing of the sort." Sharply. 
"It'll take me that time to find another in- 
competent keeper for them. And, meanwhile, 
you may be sure," grimly, "you will be very 
well watched." 

"Under the circumstances, I should prefer — 
since you have discharged me — ^to leave at 



once." 



(r 



'Your preferences are a matter of utter in- 
difference. You were employed with a definite 
understanding in this regard." 

Mr. Heatherbloom gazed rather wildly out 
of the window ; two weeks — that much longer ! 



86 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He was about to say he would not be well 
watched; he would take himself off — ^that she 
couldn't keep him ; but paused. A contract was 
a contract, though orally made ; she could hold 
him yet a little. But why did she wish to ? He 
had not calculated upon this ; he tried to think 
but could not. He looked from the elder to the 
younger woman. The latter did not look at 
him. 

Miss Dalrymple had seated herself at the 
piano; her fingers — flight as spirit touches — 
now swept the keys; a Debussey fantasy, al- 
most as pianissimo as one could play it, vi- 
brated around them. Outside the whir ! whir I 
of the skates went on. A little girl tumbled. 
Mr. Heatherbloom regarded her; ribbons awry; 
fat legs in the air. The music continued 

"You may go," said a severe voice. 

He aroused himself to belated action, but at 
the door he looked back. "I'm sure it will be 
all right," he repeated to Miss Van Rolsen. 
"On my word" — ^more impetuously. 

At the piano some one laughed, and Mr. 
Heatherbloom went. 



PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT 87 

"Why on earth, Aunt, did you want to keep 
him two weeks longer?" he heard the girl's 
now passionate tones ask as he walked away. 

"For a number of reasons, my dear," came 
the response. "One, because he wanted to 
leave me in the lurch. Another — it will be 
easier to keep an eye on him until Naughty is 
returned, or" — ^her voice had the vindictive 
ring of a Roman matron's — "this person's 
culpability is proven. Naughty is a valuable 
dog and — " 

Mr. Heatherbloom's footsteps hastened; he 
had caught quite enough, but as he disappeared 
to the rear, the dream chords on the piano, 
now louder, continued to follow him. 



CHAPTER VII 

DEVELOPMENTS 

THAT night, as if his rest were not al- 
ready sufficiently disturbed, a disconcert- 
ing possibility occurred abruptly to Mr. Heath- 
erbloom. It was born in the darkness of the 
hour; he could not dispel it. What if the per- 
son in whom he had confided in the park were 
not all she seemed? He hated the insinuating 
suggestion but it insisted on creeping into his 
brain. He had once, not so long ago, in his 
search for cheap lodgings, stumbled upon a 
roomful of alleged cripples and maimed dis- 
reputables who made mendicancy a profession ; 
their jibes and jests on the credulity of the 
public yet rang in his ears. What if she — his 
casual acquaintance of the day before — ^be- 
longed to that yet greater class of dissemblers 
who ply their arts and simulations wjth more 
individualism and intelligence? 

88 



DEVELOPMENTS 89 

Mr. Heatherbloom sat up in bed. Naughty 
might be worth five or even ten thousand 
dollars. He remembered having read at some 
previous time about a certain canine whose 
proud mistress and owner was alleged to have 
refused twenty thousand for him. The per- 
spiration broke out on Mr. Heatherbloom's 
face. Was Naughty of this category? He 
looked very "classy," as if there couldn't be 
another beast quite like him in the world. 
What had been the twenty-thousand-dollar 
mistress' name; not Van — impossible! 

But the more he told himself "impossible", 
the more positive grew a certain perverse inner 
asseveration that it was quite possible. And 
what if the person in the park had known it? 
He reviewed the circumstances of their differ- 
ent meetings; details that had not impressed 
themselves upon him at the time — ^that had al- 
most escaped his notice, now stood out clearer 
■ — ^too clear, in his mind. He remembered how 
she had brightened astonishingly after the brief 
fainting spell when he had made his ill-advised 
proposal. It had been as elixir to her. He re- 



90 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

called how she had met him every day. Had 
it been mere chance? Or— disconcerting sus^ 
picion ! — had she deliberately planned — ' 

For Mr. Heatherbloom there was no sleep 
that night. At the first signs of dawn he was 
up and out, directing his steps toward the park, 
as a criminal returns to the haunts of his crime. 
No faces of any kind now greeted him there ; 
only trees confronted him, gaunt, ghostlike in 
the early morning mists. Even the squirrels 
were yet abed in their miniature Swiss chalets 
in the air. The sun rose at last, red and 
threatening. He now met a policeman who 
looked at him questioningly. Mr. Heather- 
bloom greeted him with a blitheness at variance 
with his mood. Officialdom only growled and 
gazed after the young man as if to say : "We'll 
gather you in, yet." 

It was past nine o'clock before Mr. Heather- 
bloom ventured to approach the house; as he 
did so, the front door closed; some one had 
been admitted. He himself went in through 
the area way; from above came joyous barks, 
a woman's voice ; pandemonium. Mr. Heather- 



DEVELOPMENTS 91 

bloom listened. Later he learned what had 
happened; a young woman had brought back 
Naughty ; a very honest young woman who re- 
fused all reward. 

"Sure," said the cook, who had the story 
from the butler, "and she spoke loike a quane. 
'I can take nothing for returning what doesn't 
belong to me, ma'am. I am but doing my 
jooty. But if ye plaze, would ye be lookin' 
over these recommends av mine — ^they're from 
furriners — and if yez be havin' ony friends 
who be wanting a maid and yez might be so 
good as to recommind me, I'd be thankin' of 
yez, for it's wurrk I wants.' Think av that 
now. Only wurrk 1 Who says there am't 
honest servin' gurrls, nowadays? The mis- 
tress was that pleased with her morals an' her 
manners — so loidy-loike! — she gave her the 
job that shlip av a Jane had ; wid an advance 
av salary on the sphoL" 

"You mean Miss Van Rolsen has actually 
engaged her?" Mr. Heatherbloom, face abeam, 
repeated. 

"Phawt have I been saying just now?" 



92 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Scornfully. "Sure, an' is it ears you have on 
your head ?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom, a weight lifted from his 
shoulders, departed from the kitchen. He had 
wronged her — this poor girl, or young woman, 
who, in her dire distress, had appealed to him. 
How he despised now the uncharitable dark 
thoughts of the night ! How he could congrat- 
ulate himself he had obeyed impulse, and not 
stopped to reason too closely, or to question* 
too suspiciously, when he had decided to act 
the day before ! 

All is well that ends well. All he had to 
do now was to complete as unostentatiously as 
possible his term of service — But perhaps he 
would be released at once ? 

No; not at once! Those anxious to super- 
sede him began to dribble in, it is true; but 
they faded away, one by one, after interviews 
with Miss Van Rolsen, and returned no more. 
They were a mournful lot, these would-be, 
ten-doUar-a-week custodians ; Mr. Heather- 
bloom wondered if his own physiognomy in 



DEVELOPMENTS 93 

a general way would merge nicely in a com- 
posite photograph of them ? 

His duties he performed now as quietly as 
he could. Two weeks more, ten days, nine, 
eight! Then? Ah, then! 

He did not see Miss Van Rolsen again nor 
Miss Dalrymple. He encountered the fair un- 
known, though, his acquaintance of the park, 
occasionally, as she in demure cap and white 
ruffled apron glided softly her allotted way. 
Sometimes he nodded to her in distant fashion, 
sometimes she got by before he actually real- 
ized he had passed her. She seemed to move 
so quickly and with such little ado; or, it may 
be, he was not very observant He didn't feel 
very keen on mere minor details these days; 
he experienced principally the sensation of one 
who was now merely "marking time", as it 
were — ^figuratively performing a variety of 
goose-step, the way the German soldiers do. 

But one day she — Marie, they called her — 
stopped him. 

**I understand from one of the servants that 



% 



94 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

it cost ypu your position to— do what you did. 
You know what I mean — " 

He looked alarmed. "Don't worry about 
that** 

"But shouldn't I?" Steady dark eyes upon 
him. 

"On the contrary !" Vigorously. 

"I don't understand — ^unless — " 

"The salary — it is nothing here" — Mr. 
Heatherbloom gestured airily. "I should do 
much better—one of my ability, you under- 
stand !— elsewhere." 

"Could you?" She regarded him doubt- 
fully. "But, perhaps, they — It was not very 
pleasant for you here, anyway. Miss Van Rol- 
sen — ^her niece, Miss Dalrymple— does not like 
you." He started. "It was easy to see that ; 
when I mentioned regretfully that the good 
fortune that brought me where there is plenty 
to eat should have been the cause of your being 
in disfavor, she stopped me short." Mr. Heath- 
erbloom studied the distance. " The person 
you speak of intended leaving anyhow,* she 
said, and her voice was — mon Dieu! — ice." 



DEVELOPMENTS 95 

The listener swallowed. "Quite so," he said 
jauntily. "Miss Dalrymple is absolutely cor- 
rect*' 

She regarded him an instant with sudden, 
very mature gaze. "I can't quite make you 
out" 

"No one ever can. Don't try. It isn't worth 
while. Which reminds me" — he rattled on — 
"I did you an injury; an injustice — " 
'Ah?" she said quickly. 
In my mind ! You will excuse me, but do 
you know that night after I had consigned him 
to your care in the park, I afterward felt quite 






anxious — " 



"For what ?" She came closer. 

"Wondering if you — Ha ! ha !" Mr. Heath- 
erbloom stopped; in his confusion, his en- 
deavor to turn the conversation from himself 
and Miss Dalrymple, he seemed to be getting 
into deep waters. 

"You wondered what ?" In a low tone. 

Since he now felt obliged to speak, he did, 
coolly enough. "If you had some ulterior mo- 
tive !" he said with a quiet smile. 



96 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

She it was who now started back, and her 
face paled slightly. **Why ? — ^what ulterior mo- 
tive ? What do you mean ?" 

He told her in plain words. She breathed 
more evenly; then smiled sweetly. She had 
a strange face sometimes. "Thank you/' she 
said. "You are very frank, mon ami. I like 
you none the less for it Though you did so 
injure me — in your thoughts !" Her eyes had 
an enigmatic light. "Well, I must go now to 
Miss Dalrymple. She is beginning to be so 
fond of me." She drawled the last words as 
if she liked to linger on them. "You see I, 
too, have a little Russian blood in me." Mr. 
Heatherbloom looked down. "And I think 
she loves to hear me tell of that wonderful 
country — the white nights of St. Petersburg — 
the splendid steppes — the grandeur of our 
Venice of the north. Of course, she is im- 
mensely interested in Russia now." Signifi- 
cantly. "Its ostentation, its splendor, its bar- 
baric picturesqueness ! But tell me, what is her 
prince like? He is very handsome, naturally! 
Or she would not so dote on him!" 



DEVELOPMENTS 97 

Mr. Heatherbloom's features had hardened ; 
he did not answer directly. "She likes to talk 
about Russia ?" he said, half to himself. 

Marie shrugged. "Is it not to be her coimtry 
some day?" 

"No, it isn't I" The words seemed forced 
from his lips ; he spoke almost fiercely. "She 
may live there with him, but it will never be 
her country. This is her country. She is its 
product; an American to her finger-tips. And 
all the grand dukes and princes of the Winter 
Palace can't change her. She belongs to old 
California; she grew up among the orange 
trees and the flowers, and her heart will ever 
yearn for them in your frozen land of 
tyranny !" 

"Oh! oh! oh!" said Mademoiselle Marie. 
"How eloquent monsieur can be! Quite an 
orator ! One would say he, too, has known this 
land of orange trees and flowers!" 

"I?" Mr. Heatherbloom bit his lip. 

But she only shook a finger. "Oh ! oh !" Al- 
together like a different person from his casual 
acquaintance of the park! He gazed at her 



98 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

closer; how quickly the marks of trouble, anx- 
iety, had faded from her face; as if they had 
never existed. 

"What do you mean ?" he asked, looking in- 
to eyes now full of a new and peculiar under- 
standing. 

"Nothing," she said and vanished. 

He gazed where she had been ; he could not 
account for a sudden strange emotion, as if 
some one had trailed a shadow over him. A 
premonition of something going to happen; 
that could not be foreseen, or averted ! Some- 
thing worse than anything that had gone be- 
fore! What nonsense! He pressed his lips 
tightly and went about his duties like an au- 
tomaton. 

Eight days — seven days — six days morel — 
only six^ 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE UNEXPECTED 

THE blow fell, a thunderbolt from the 
clear sky. It dazed certain people at first ; 
It was difficult to realize what had happened, or 
if anything had really happened. For might 
not what seemed a deep and dire mystery turn 
out to be nothing so very mysterious after all? 
A message would soon come ; everything would 
then be "cleared up" and those most concerned 
would laugh at their apprehensions. But the 
hours went by, and the affair remained inexpli- 
cable ; no word was heard concerning Miss Dal- 
rymple's whereabouts ; she seemed to have dis- 
appeared as completely as if she had vanished 
on the Persian magic carpet. What could it 
mean ? The circumstances briefly were : 

Miss Dalrymple, four or five days before 
Mr. Heatherbloom's term of service came to an 

99 



^c^^^^^V 



100 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

end, had expressed a desire to revisit her old 
home and friends in the West. One of a party 
made up mostly of other Calif omians — ^now 
residents of New York city — ^the girl had 
failed to appear on the private car at the ap- 
pointed time, and the train had pulled out, leav- 
ing her behind. At the first important stop a 
telegram had been handed to a gentleman of 
the party from Miss Dalrymple; it expressed 
her regret at having reached the station too 
late owing to circumstances she would explain 
later, and announced her intention of coming 
on, with her maid, in a few days. They were 
not to wait anjrwhere for her but to go right 
along. 

The party did ; it was sorry to have lost one 
of Its most popular members but no one 
thought anything more of the matter until at 
Denver, after a telegram had been forwarded 
to the Van Rolsen house, in New York, asking 
just when Miss Dalrymple would arrive, as 
camping preparations for a joyous pilgrimage 
in the mountains were in progress. 

Miss Van Rolsen gasped when this message 



THE UNEXPECTED lOi 

reached her. Miss Dalrymple and her maid — 
a young woman newly engaged by Miss Van 
Rolsen — ^had left the house for the train to 
which the private car was attached; neither 
had been heard from since. The aunt had, of 
course, presumed her niece had gone as 
planned; she had received no word from her, 
but supposing she was of a light-hearted, heed- 
less company thought nothing of that. It was 
possible Miss Dalrymple had actually missed 
her train; but if so, why had she not returned 
to her aunt's house ? 

Where had she gone? What had become of 
her? No trace of her could be found. Certain 
forces in the central railroad office at New 
York could not discover any evidence that the 
yotmg girl had taken a subsequent train. There 
was no record of her name at any ticket office ; 
no state-room had been reserved by, or for her ; 
in fact, telegrams to officials in Chicago and 
other points west failed to elicit satisfactory 
information of any kind. 

Miss Van Rolsen found herself with some- 
thing real to worry about ; she rose to the oc- 



102 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

casion ; her niece, after all, was everything to 
her. The Van Rolsen millions were ultimately 
for her, and the old lady's every ambition was 
centered in the girl. She had been proud of 
her beauty, her social triumphs. 

With great determination she set herself to 
solve the puzzling problem. Could people thus 
completely disappear nowadays? It seemed 
impossible, she asserted, sitting behind closed 
doors in her library, to the private agent of the 
secret-service bureau whom she had just "called 
m. 

He begged to differ from her and pointed to 
a number of cases which had seemed just as 
strange and mysterious in the beginning. Ran- 
som — ^the "Black Hand" — Who could say 
what secret influences had been at work in this 
case ? It was a very important one ; Miss Dal- 
rymple had money of her own ; she was known 
to be her aunt's heiress. The conclusion? — 
But this was not Morocco, or Turkey, Miss 
Van Rolsen somewhat vehemently returned. 

True ; we have had, however, our "civilized** 
Ransuilis, answered the agent and mentioned 



THE UNEXPECTED 103 

a number of names in support of his theory. 
No doubt, after an interval. Miss Van Rolsen 
would have news of her niece — ^through those 
who had perpetrated the outrage ; or she might 
even receive a few written words from the girl 
herself. After that it was a question of nego- 
tiating, or, while professing to deal with the 
perpetrators,, to ferret them out if one could. 
The latter course was dangerous, for those 
who stoop to this particular crime are usually 
of a desperate type ; he and Miss Van Rolsen 
could consider that question later. Meanwhile 
she must avoid worry as much as possible. The 
young girl would, no doubt, be well treated. 

Had the speaker looked around at this mo- 
ment, he might have observed that the heavy 
curtains, drawn before the door leading into 
the hall and closed by Miss Van Rolsen, moved 
suddenly, but neither the agent nor Miss Van 
Rolsen, engrossed at the far end of the room, 
noticed. The drapery wavered a moment ; then 
settled once more into its folds. 

The telegram purporting to be from Miss 
Dalrymple to one of the party on the tra^n. 



i 



104 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

could — ^the agent went on— very easily have 
been sent by some one else ; no doubt, had been. 
The miscreants had seized upon a lucky com- 
bination of circumstances; for two or three 
days, while Miss Dalrymple was supposed to 
be speeding across the continent, they, unsus- 
pected and unmolested, would be afforded 
every opportunity to convey her to some re- 
mote and, for them, safe refuge. It was a 
cleverly planned coup, and could not have been 
conceived and consummated without — ^here 
he spoke slowly — inside assistance. 

The curtain at the doorway again stirred. 

"And now, Madam, we come to your ser- 
vants," said the police agent. *T should like to 
know something about them." 

"My servants, sir, are, for the most part, old 
and trusted." 

" Tor the most part' !" He caught at the 
phrase. "We will deal first with those who do 
not come in that category." 

"There's a young man recently employed 
that I have not been at all pleased with. He 
leaves to-morrow." 



THE UNEXPECTED 105 

*'Ah!" said the visitor. "Not the person I 
met going out af the area way with the dogs 
as I came in ?" 

She answered affirmatively. 

"H— mnl" He paused. "But tell me why 
you have not been pleased with him, and, in 
brief, all the drctunstances of his coming 
here.*' 

Miss Van Rolsen did so in a voice she strove 
to make patient although she could not dis- 
guise its tremulousness, or the feverish anxiety 
that consumed her. She related the most triv- 
ial details, seeming irrelevances, but the vis- 
itor did not interrupt her. Instead, he studied 
carefully her face, pinched and worn; the 
angular figure, slightly bent ; the fingers, nerv- 
ously clasping and unclasping as she spoke. He 
watched her through habit; and still forbore 
speaking, even when she referred to the escape 
of her canine favorite from his caretaker and 
how the dog had later been returned, though 
the listener's eyes had, at this point, dilated 
slightly. 

**After his carelessness in this matter, he 



io6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

seemed to want to get away from the house at 
once," observed Miss Van Rolsen, "without 
availing himself of the two- weeks' notice I had 
agreed to give him." 

The visitor relapsed into his chair; an iron- 
ical light appeared in his eyes. 

"Perhaps," added Miss Van Rolsen, "you 
attach no significance to the fact ?" 

"On the contrary, I attach every importance 
to it. Has it not occurred to you there was a 
little collusion in this matter of the lost dog?" 

"Collusion?" Miss Van Rolsen's accents 
expressed incredulity. "You must be wrong. 
Why, the young woman wouldn't even accept 
the reward. And it was not a small one !" 

"Two hundred or so dollars, ma'am! Not 
her stake!" he murmured satirically. "I am 
afraid two hundred thousand dollars would be 
nearer the mark these people have set for them- 
selves !" 

"But she didn't ask for a place here ; only for 
me to look over her references — one was from 
a lady I knew in Paris — ^and to recommend 
her to my friends — " 



THE UNEXPECTED 107 

"She knew your other maid had left; this 
confederate had, of course, told her. It was 
all arranged that she should come here. Rest 
assured of that. And having accomplished her 
purpose — clever that she is! — she at once 
started to ingratiate herself with your niece, 
to make herself useful. As a mistress of lan- 
guages she was useful, in fact more so than 
any ordinary maid. Where did she come 
from? Find out whom she represents, and — 
we'll have the key to the mystery. But she, 
too, has disappeared; after turning the game 
over to the others, perhaps. I would suggest 
cabling those foreign references this young 
woman gave you. They will, of course, in- 
cluding your Paris friend, know nothing of 
her; the name she gave you was not her own." 

"But by what unfortunate combination of 
circumstances" — Miss Van Rolsen spoke some- 
what incoherently — "should these people have 
been led to settle on my niece as the victim of 
their cowardly designs? There are so many 
others—" 

"You forget the publicity concerning this 



io8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

prince your niece is to marry." The old lady 
stiffened. "Pardon my mentioning it, but Miss 
Dalrymple has in this connection been very 
much before the public gaze." 

"Against her .wish, sir, and mine!" snapped 
Miss Van Rolsen. "She — I — ^have both la- 
mented the fact. But what can one do ? The 
journalists settled on the prince as a fruitful 
source for speculation. He is of noble family, 
very wealthy, no fortune-hunter; which has 
made it all the more distressing for him and 
us." She seemed about to say something fur- 
ther; then her lips suddenly tightened. "As 
I say, it has been very distressing," she ended, 
after a pause. "I expect it was one of the rea- 
sons my niece wanted to get away from New 
York for a time." 

"No doubt!" The caller's voice was cour- 
tesy itself although he probably but half-cred- 
ited Miss Van Rolsen's protestations in the 
matter. People liked to complain of the press 
and newspaper notoriety, when in their hearts, 
perhaps, they were not so displeased to be in 
that terrible lime-light; especially when the 



THE UNEXPECTED 109 

person associated with them happened to be a 
count, or a duke, or a prince. "Unfortunately, 
one has to put up with these things," he now 
added. "But you are positive you have tpld 
me everything?" 

An instant she seemed to hesitate. "I am 
positive you know everything relative to the 
subject" 

He arose. "In that event" — his manner in- 
dicated a sudden resolution — "there is one lit- 
tle preliminary to be attended to." 

"Which is—" 

"To arrest this fellow, Heatherbloom 1" 

"Arrest? When?" 

"At once ! There is no time to be lost. Al- 
ready — " He gave a sudden exclamation* 

^What is it?" she asked. 

He stepped toward the curtain; it moved 
perceptibly. 

"Some one has been listening," exclaimed 
Miss Van Rolsen excitedly. 

"Yes, some one." Significantly. As he 
spoke he threw back the curtain and revealed 
the door partly ajar. 



no A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"It must have been — Not one of my old 
servants — They would not have — " 

He stopped her. 'There's the front way out 
of this house and the area way below," he said 
rapidly. "Is there any other way of escaping 
to the street ?" 

"No." 

He darted out of the room to the front door. 
She followed. 

"Quite in time !" he said, casting a quick look 
both ways along the avenue and then letting 
his glance fall to the servants' entrance below. 

"You think he will try to — " 

He regarded her swiftly. "While I stand 
guard here, would you mind getting some one 
to 'phone my office and ask two or three of my 
men to step over at once? Not that I doubt my 
own ability to cope with the case" — ^fingering 
the handle of a weppon on his pocket — "only 
it is always well to take no chances. Espe- 
cially now !" 

"Now?" 

"Since he has practically convicted himself 
and confirmed my theory. We shall get at the 



N 



THE UNEXPECTED in 

truth through him. We're nearer the solution 
of the matter than I dared hope for." 

"I'll telephone myself!" she cried. And 
started back to do so when an excited face con- 
fronted her. 

"If ye plase, ma'am!" It was the cook. 

"What is it?" Miss Van Rolsen spoke 
sharply. 

"If ye plase, I think, ma'am, this Mr. Heath- 
erbloom has taken lave av his senses." 
'Why, what has he been doing?" 
'He has, faith, just jumped over the fence 
into our neighbor's yard on the corner, and — " 

The man on the steps did not wait to hear 
more ; with something that sounded like an im- 
precation he sprang quickly down to the side- 
walk and ran toward the comer. 



((^ 



«i 



^ 



CHAPTER IX 

WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 

AS Mr. Heatherbloom prepared to issue 
l\ from his neighbor's gate opening on 
the side street, the feminine voice of one of 
the servants in the rear of the comer house 
called out in alarm at sight of the strange fig- 
ure speeding across their metropolitan imita- 
tion of a back yard. If anything were needed 
to stimulate the fugitive's footsteps, it was the 
sound of that voice. He stayed not on the or- 
der of his going, but pushing back the heavy 
bolt — fortunately his egress was not barred by 
a locked door — ^he' tore open the gate and 
sprang to the sidewalk. Then without stopping, 
he ran on, away from the fashionable avenue. 
The street he traversed like many thorough- 
fares of its kind was comparatively deserted 
most of the time ; nobody impeded his progress, 

112 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 113 

though one or two people gazed after him from 
their windows. 

He had gone about three-quarters of a block 
when the window spectators discerned a heav- 
ier built figure come lumbering around the cor- 
ner, apparently in hot pursuit. Mr. Heather- 
bloom, glancing over his shoulder, also ob- 
served ^his person ; his capture and subsequent 
incarceration seemed inevitable. Already the 
fugitive was drawing near to busier Fourth 
Avenue ; there he would be obliged to relax his 
pace ; he could not sprint down that thorough- 
fare without attracting undue attention. Be- 
hind, the pursuer called out ; he was, however, 
too short of breath for compelling vocal effect. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, on the contrary, had 
good control of his breathing and was, more- 
over, yet fresh and physically capable. Which 
fact made it the more difficult for him to settle 
down to a forced, albeit sharp walk as he ap- 
proached the comer, when his gait suddenly 
accelerated once more. 

A street-car had just started not very far 
from him and Mr. Heatherbloom ran after it 



114 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

A fine pretext for speed was offered him; as 
he "let himself go'' in the way he had once 
gone somewhere in the past in a hundred- 
yards' dash, he felt joyously conscious both of 
covering space quickly and that he did so with- 
out making himself particularly prominent. 
Fools who ran after street-cars were born 
every moment; he was happy to be relegated 
to that idiotic class by any onlookers. He 
caught the car while it was going; he didn't 
want it to stop for him. 

Neither did it stop to pick up any one else 
for several blocks; there was a space before it 
unobstructed by traffic. The motorman turned 
on more power and Mr. Heatherbloom listened 
gratefully to the humming wheels. At the 
same time he looked back ; at the corner where 
he had turned into Fourth avenue he fancied a 
number of people were gathering. He could 
surmise the cause; the stockily-built man — his 
pursuer — was asking questions ; he !iad learned 
what had become of the fugitive and was pre- 
sumably looking around for a "taxi." In vain. 
At least, Mr. Heatherbloom so concluded, be- 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 115 

cause one did not appear in hot chase behind 
them. 

The motorman still gave "rapid service"; 
the conductor looked at his watch, by which 
Mr. Heatherbloom imagined they had time to 
make up. He hoped so, then resented a pause 
at a corner for an old lady. How he wished she 
had not been afflicted with rheumatism, and 
could have got on without help ! But at length 
the light-weight conductor did manage to pull 
the heavy-weight passenger aboard. Time lost, 
thirty seconds! The motorman manipulated 
the lever more deliberately now and they gath- 
ered headway slowly. Mr. Heatherbloom 
dared not remain longer where he was ; as the 
car approached a comer near an elevated sta- 
tion, he got off. He was obliged to walk now 
a short distance but he did so hastily. Draw- 
ing near the iron steps, leading upward, he 
once more looked back; a "taxi" was whirling 
after him and he had no doubt as to its occu- 
pant The street-car could easily have been 
Icept in sight and his leaving it been noted. 

Mr. Heatherbloom now threw discretion to 



ii6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

the winds; dashing toward the stairway he 
ran up. Juat as he reached the ticket window, 
the pursuing vehicle stopped below. Some 
one sprang out, did not pause to pay the chauf- 
feur, but calling out to him his name, started 
after Mr. Heatherbloom. That gentleman had 
by this time boarded the train waiting above; 
he stood on the rear platform. Any moment 
the pursuer would appear. He did appear as 
the gates of the train were closed and the cars 
had started on their way. 

Yet he did not give up for running alongside 
the last car he called out to the guard : 

"Fugitive from justice! Criminal — on this 
train ! Open the gate for me !'* 

An instant the guard hesitated; rules, how- 
ever, were rules. 

"Five hundred dollars if you let me onl" 
the voice panted. 

The guard in his own mind decided he would 
let the other on — ^too late ; the last car dashed 
past the end of the platform. A faint sigh of 
relief from Mr. Heatherbloom was drowned in 
the timiult of the wheels ; then he endeavored 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 117 

to appear indifferent, apathetic. It was not 
easy to do so ; the secret-service agent had been 
heard by many others. 

A "fugitive from justice" on the train! Mr. 
Heatherbloom tried to look as little the part as 
possible, to simulate by his expression a pre- 
occupied young business man of heavy respon- 
sibilities. Fortunately the train was crowded; 
nevertheless he fancied people glanced espe- 
cially at him. He wished now he were better 
dressed ; good clothes may cover a multitude of 
sins. Still there was no reason why he should 
be suspected more than sundry other indiffer- 
ently-dressed people. He would dismiss the 
thought, tell himself he was going down town 
on some little errand; he even devised what 
that errand should be — ^to procure theater tick- 
ets. But his brain did not seem quite capable 
of concentrating itself solely on desirable or- 
chestra chairs ; it constantly and perversely re- 
verted to that other disagreeable subject — ^a 
."fugitive from — " 

Whoever could the fellow be? He endeav- 

« 

ored by a mental process to eliminate himself 



ii8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

and see but a mythical some one else in a myth- 
ical background. A short person; a tall one? 
What kind of person would the imaginary in- 
dividual be, anyhow ? And what had he done, 
what crime committed? Mr. Heatherbloom 
tried to think with the minds of all these other 
people on the train, to put himself figuratively 
in their shoes. 

One young sprig of a girl, about fourteen, 
with sallow complexion and bead-like black 
eyes, kept regarding him. He conceived a pro- 
found dislike for her, shifted a foot; then 
straightened and banished her peremptorily 
from his environment. His principal interest 
lay now in casual glimpses of windows and 
speculation as to what was behind them. He 
varied this employment in a passing endeavor 
to decipher sundry signs that obtruded inci- 
dentally within range of vision. 

He had made out only a few when the train 
slackened and came to a standstill. Mr. 
Heatherbloom told himself he would get off 
as quickly as possible; then changed his mind 
and remained. People would, of course, argue 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 119 

that, under the circumstances, the unknown 
criminal would be among those to leave the 
train at the first opportunity. 

A number got out; Mr. Ileatlierbloom noted 
the passengers who remained aboard and 
watched closely the departing ones. A few of 
the latter seemed slightly self-conscious, nota- 
bly, an elderly spinster who, having never done 
anything wrong, was possessed of an unusual 
sensitiveness. 

"See that slouchy chap — By jove, I be- 
lieve—" 

'Does look like a tough customer — " 
'On the contrary, he just looks poor." Mr. 
Heatherbloom turned upon the two speakers 
warmly. 

Why could he not have kept silent ; why was 
he obliged to obtrude his opinion into their 
conversation ? 

They stared and he half turned as the train 
banged itself along once more. Where should 
he go? Reaching for a paper that some one 
had discarded, he sank into a vacant seat and 
opened the sheet with misgiving. 



«' 



f(t 



120 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

What would the big types say? Nothing! 
Miss Van Rolsen had managed to keep the 
strange affair of her niece's disappearance out 
of the columns of the papers. They knew 
nothing about it as yet — Only a single little 
item in the shipping news, in fine print, which 
suddenly caught his gaze bore in any way, and 
that a remote one, upon her niece and her af- 
fairs. Mr. Heatherbloom regarded it with 
dull glance. The few lines meant nothing to 
him — ^then ; later he had cause to turn to them 
with abrupt wondering avidity. Now his eyes 
swept with simulated interest the general news 
of the day; he professed to read cable dis- 
patches. 

But an odd reaction seemed to have settled 
on him; the excitement of the chase became, 
for the moment, forgotten. The scope of his 
mental visuality no longer included the figure 
of the agent from the private detective bureau. 
An anxiety more poignant moved him; his 
thoughts centered on that other matter — ^the 
cause of Miss Van Rolsen's apprehensions — 
the while those emoticms that had held him a 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 121 

listener behind the curtain in her library again 
stirred in his breast. He had not played the 
eavesdropper for any selfish purpose or 
through a sense of personal aiq)rehension. The 
sudden realization of his own danger, had, 
perforce, awakened in him the need for quick 
action if he would save himself. 

If? What chance, had he? But for one 
compelling reason, one consuming purpose, he 
would not have fled at all ; he would have faced 
them, instead! But he had work to do — 
he! A fugitive, a logical candidate for the 
prison cell! Ironical situation! Even now he 
heard a voice at his elbow. 

"Mr. Heatherbloom !" Some one spoke sud- 
denly to him and he wheeled with abrupt swift 
fierceness. 

"Well, are you going to eat me up?" the 
voice laughed. 

He looked into the pert face of Jane — ^the 
maid with the provoking nose — ^who had been 
at Miss Van Rolsen's. She had got on at the 
other end of the car at the last station, and 
^xr waiting a few moments for him to see 



122 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

her, had moved toward him, or a seat at his 
side just then vacated by some one preparing 
to leave. Mr. Heatherbloom's face cleared ; he 
banished the belligerent expression. 

"You look edible enough!" he said with 
forced jocularity. 

"Indeed?" she retorted, surprised at such 
gallantry from one who had heretofore not 
deigned to pay her compliments. "Fll have to 
tell my husband about you." Playfully. "But 
how are things at Miss Van Rolsen's? Any- 
thing new ?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom murmured something 
about the customary routine; then, even as he 
spoke, became conscious of a sudden new dis- 
concerting circumstance. The tracks for the 
up and the down trains on the elevated had 
widely separated and ran now on the extreme 
sides of the broad thoroughfare. From his 
side of the car the young man was afforded a 
view of the pavement below, between the two 
sustaining iron structures. A chill shot through 
him and his smile became set. Gazing down he 



WHO FIGHTS AND RUNS 123 

discerned, on the street beneath and a little to 
one side of them, a motor-car, speeding fast, 
apparently bent on keeping up with them. 

"How — ^how's your husband ?" he said irrel- 
evantly. The car was keeping up with them. 

"Very v/ell, thank you." (Would it reach 
the next station before them?) 

"You— you have a pleasant home?" he 
asked. (A slight blockade below impeded, mo- 
mentarily, the "taxi". Mr. Heatherbloom 
raised his handkerchief to his moist brow.) 

"Lovely," she answered. "Are you going 
far?" 

"Brooklyn," he said at random. What were 
they talking about? (The car was once more 
under way; fortunately their progress over- 
head would not be impeded by a press of ve- 
hicles. ) 

"That's where we live — Brooklyn," she said. 

"Is it ? Got a nice house ?" He had practi- 
cally asked this question before ; but he hardly 
knew what •he was saying. A policeman had 
stopped the "taxi" and was shaking his head, 
as at a rather "fishy" story. Mr. Heather- 



124 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

bloom by a species of telepathy, seemed to 
overhear the excited talk waging below. 

"Oh, yes ; lovely !" Jane's accents were but 
parenthetical to something else. The "taxi" 
had been allowed to proceed, in spite of the de- 
taining thought-waves Mr. Heatherbloom had 
launched toward the officer of the law. The 
occupant had probably showed a badge; Mr. 
Heatherbloom stretched his neck out of the 
window. 

"You can come around and see. sometime, 
if you want to." Pride in her voice. "And 
meet my husband." Husband was a very sub- 
stantial baker. 

"Charmed, Fm sure! Ha! ha!" He sud- 
denly laughed. 

"What is it?" She looked startled. 

"Funniest accident !" He waved his hat, as 
at some one, out of the window. "See that 
taxi ! Bumped into a dray. Ha ! ha !" 

"I don't see anything so funny in that." 

Straightenine. 
"No ? You should have seen the expression 

on his face — *' 



WHO FIGHTS ANN RUNS 125 

"His? Whose?" 

"The — ^ah, drayman's, of course! He- 
looked so mad." 

"I should have thought," she observed, "the 
man in the car would have been the maddest. 
It couldn't have hurt the dray much." 

"No? Perhaps that's what made it seem so 
funny to me." 

"Well," she said, "I never noticed before 
that you had a great sense of humor." 

"You never knew me." Jauntily. 

They got off at Brooklyn Bridge together. 
As they made their way through the crowd, 
Mr. Heatherbloom appeared most care-free 
and very sedulous of his companion's welfare, 
especially when they passed one or two loiter- 
ers who seemed eying the passengers rather 
closely. 

"Two for Brooklyn." Mr. Heatherbloom 
laid do^n a dime at the ticket office. 

Soon, unmolested, he sped on once more; 
but as they crossed the busy river all his light- 
heartedness seemed suddenly to desert him; 
the questions he had been vainly asking himself 



126 A MAN Ajfc HIS MONEY 

earlier that day were reiterated in his brain. 
Where was she? What had become of her? 
His hands clasped closely. A red spot burned 
on his cheek. 



CHAPTER X 

A NEW-FOUND THEORY 

NO; the prince isn't coming back to 
America, and she — Miss Dalrymple — 
isn't going to marry him !'* 

Jane's voice, running on rather at random, 
suddenly with unusual force penetrated Mr. 
Heatherbloom's consciousness. 

"Not going — isn't — What are you talking 
about?" The young man's wavering atten- 
tion focused itself on her now with swift com- 
pleteness. He had hardly heard her, until a 
few moments before, when her conversation 
had first drifted to that ever fascinating fem- 
inine topic of foreign lords and American heir- 
esses, then narrowed down, much to his inward 
disapproval, to one particular titled individual 
and one particular heiress. "But you are mis- 
taken, of course !" he said bruskly. 

127 



128 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Oh, am I ?" she retorted. "I suppose you 
believe everything you read in the newspa- 
pers?'* 

Mr. Heatherbloom did not answer now ; he 
was staring out of the window. Against the 
sky the jutting lines of buildings seemed to 
waver; new extraordinary angles and jogs 
seemed to assert themselves. His gaze had a 
glittering brightness when it turned. "Have 
you any better authority?'* 

His tone was a challenge. "I heard her tell 
him so myself," she said succinctly. "That 
she could never marry him and that he must 
never come back." 

Mr. Heatherbloom's hand crumpled the 
newspaper ; then mechanically he folded it and 
put it in his pocket. His look was once more 
bent outward ; tiny specks, that were big steam- 
boats going very fast, seemed motionless on 
the sparkling surface of the water afar. His 
thoughts scattered ; he tried to collect them, to 
realize where he was, how he happened to be 
there ; the identity of the speaker and what she 
had been saying! Certain preconceived, fixed 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 129 

ideas and conclusions had been toppled over, 
brushed aside in an instant. Was it possible? 
"I was waiting to trim and fill the lamps," 
said Jane. (Miss Van Rolsen clung to oiP 
lamps for reading. ) "The prince and she were 
in the library. He has a loud voice, you know," 

The young man did. "But why — " 

« 

"Search me!" Vivaciously. "He was the 
very pick of the whole cargo of dukes and the 
like. There isn't another girl in New York 
would have done it." 

"But surely," scarcely hearing her last 
words, "no newspaper would dare to announce 
such a thing without — " 

"Oh, wouldn't it? When it called up the 
house every day, almost, and got: There is 
nothing to say'? Didn't I answer the 'phone 
once or twice myself? *Miss Van Rolsen de- 
clines to be interviewed concerning her niece. 
She has nothing to say.* I think I once gig- 
gled, the man's voice at the other end was 
so aggressive. He said he was the city editor 
himself. Is that very high up?" 

Mr. Heatherbloom did not seem to hear. 



I30 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He scarcely saw his companion now ; neverthe- 
less, he was conscious of a desire to be alone, 
in order to concentrate, consider, reach for 
light and find it But where could he discover 
a safe spot ; his problem was a dual one ; pri- 
marily, he must consider himself; he must not 
forget his own desperate situation and danger. 
The train, beginning to slacken, brought the 
sense of it once more poignantly to mind. His 
companion hadn't reached the station yet but 
he suddenly rose. The car stopped with a jerk; 
Mr. Heatherbloom murmured something hur- 
riedly and dived for the door. 

On the street he breathed deeply, standing as 
in a daze while the thunder of iron-rimmed 
wheels surrounded him. He was cognizant 
principally of certain words humming in his 
brain : The prince and she were not engaged ! 
The nobleman not returning to America in the 
fall ! Never coming back ! 

But that item in fine print in the newspaper 
he had in his pocket — what did it mean ? Noth- 
ing, of course, beyond what it said; still — 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 131 

Some one bumped into Mr. Heatherbloom ; 
whereupon he suddenly realized that he was 
standing on one of the busiest comers and had 
been making himself as conspicuous as possi- 
ble. Hastily he moved on. To what destina- 
tion ? He glanced toward a convenient saloon ; 
it looked hospitable and inviting. Then he re- 
membered they — ^man-hunters, in general — ^al- 
ways searched the saloons first for criminals. 

He started toward a side street but paused, 
reasoning that he was more prominent on com- 
paratively isolated thoroughfares than on the 
swarming ones. A stream of women flowing 
into a big department store, exercised an odd 
attraction for him. Safety lay, perhaps, 
among numbers; at least, for the time, until 
he could devise a course of action. If he 
could conceive of one! If — 

He must; he would. Every nerve in his 
body seemed to respond. Had he not embarked 
before this on desperate adventures ; had he not 
fought in the face of overwhelming odds, and 
managed to hold his head up ? A peculiar little 



132 A MAN AND HIS MQNEY 

smile played around the comer of his thin 
lips; it was like the flash of light on a blade. 
He joined the inflowing eddy. 

Bargain day! He was crushed and crum- 
pled but found himself ultimately on a stool 
in the rear of the store. No; he didn't want 
any marked-down collars or cuffs; he con- 
veyed an impression to the solicitous clerk of 
some one waiting for some one. Patiently, 
uncomplainingly! With an unseeing eye for 
the hurrying and scurrying myriads! Time 
passed; he remained oblivious to the babble 
of voices. Timon in the wilderness, Diogenes 
in his tub, could not have been mentally more 
isolated from annoying human consociation 
than was at the moment Mr. Heatherbloom, 
perched on a rickety stool amid a conglomera- 
tion of females struggling for lingerie. 

Suddenly he stirred. "Have you a book de- 
partment?" he asked an employee. 

"Straight across ; last aisle to the left." 

Mr. Heatherbloom got up; his tread was 
slow; a somnambulistic gleam appeared in his 
eye. Yet he was very much awake; he had 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 133 

never felt more keenly alert He reached the 
book section. 

Did they have any Russian fiction? Oh, 
yes; what kind did he want, nihilistic or psy- 
chological? The Fire and Sword kind, what- 
ever that was ; the second volume of the 
trilogy, if they had it in stock? Sure they had; 
but had he read the first volume? No; he 
didn't want that ; he would begin in the middle 
of the trilogy. He always read trilogies that 
way. 

The young lady in charge looked what she 
thought as she handed him the book. He paid 
her; unfortunately it cost more than the popu- 
lar novels of the day. He rather gravely con- 
templated the few small bills he had left; the 
amount of his capital would not carry him very 
far, especially if unusual expenses should oc- 
cur. Miss Van Rolsen still owed him a little 
money but he didn't see how h^ could collect 
that now. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, armed with his book, 
sought a different part of the store — ^a small 
reception-room, where customers of both sexes 



134 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

were at liberty to read, write, or indulge in 
mental rest-cure, after bargain purchases. 
There he perused hurriedly, and by snatches, 
the volume ; there was plenty of fire and plenty 
of sword in it; human passions bubbled and 
seethed. Suddenly he sat up straight and a 
suppressed exclamation fell from his lips; he 
closed the book sharply. 

One or two old ladies looked at him but he 
did not see them. His vision, clairvoyant-like, 
seemed to have lifted, to traverse broad seas, 
limitless steppes. His hands opened and closed, 
as if striving to reach and clutch something be- 
yond flame of battle, scenes of rapine. 

He got up dizzily. As he stepped once more 
into the street, the shadows had lengthened; 
twilight was falling. He stopped at a pawn- 
broker's, purchased a revolver and cartridges. 
He might need the weapon now more than 
ever. And money — he needed far more of 
that than he had. He spread in his palm the 
little wad of greenbacks he took from his 
pocket; counted them and a few silver pieces. 
Then seeking a ticket office, he made a few 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 135 

casual inquiries ; a shadow rested on his coun- 
tenance as he emerged from the place. 

Next door to it a pile of gold pieces in a 
bank window shone mockingly before his eyes. 
So near — ^with only the plate-glass between 
him and the bright discs! Mechanically he 
began to count them, but suddenly turned from 
that profitless occupation and stood with his 
back to the window. 

What availed resolution without dollars? 
His purpose might be strong, but poverty, a 
Brobdingnagian giant, laid its hand on his 
shoulder, crushing him down, holding him 
there, impotent, until the stocky man and his 
cohorts of the private detective office should 
come over and get him — ^to send him to the 
little island he had thought of when crossing 
the bridge to Brooklyn ! 

He fell back into a doorway. More mon- 
ey ! — ^he must get it ; must ! He folded his arms 
tight over his breast. To think that this should 
be his one great, crying need — ^his ! 

Above, he heard footsteps descending the 
stairway at the foot of which he stood; Mr. 



136 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Heatherbloom slipped out of the passage to 
the sidewalk and moved on. Chance took him 
back the way he had come; he had no choice 
of direction. Now he looked once more at the 
window of the pawnbroker, where he had 
stopped a short time before. He regarded the 
unredeemed pledges ; seal-rings, watches, flutes, 
old violins; what not? H he only had some- 
thing left; but all had gone — ^long ago. 

All ? He started slightly ; considered ; walked 
on. But he turned around, hesitatingly, and 
came slowly back. As he approached the door, 
his step grew more resolute. He walked briskly 
in. Without giving the proprietor time to come 
to the front of the shop, Mr. Heatherbloom 
moved at once to the back where the other sat 
behind his dusty glass cases. 

"Here I am once more." He spoke with 
forced gaiety. 

''What you want to buy now ?" 

"I don't want to buy anything; I want to 
sell something.'* 

The pawnbroker's interest in the visitor at 
once departed. 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 137 

"I have everythings! Everythings !" he 
grumbled. "Nearly every one wants to sell. 
I have no room for noddings more. Grood 
night !" 

"But I've something special," said Mr. 
Heatherbloom. As he spoke he took from an 
inner pocket a little parcel in pink tissue-paper ; 
he fingered it a moment, removing an ivory 
miniature from a frame, passed the paper 
quickly about the picture once more, and re- 
turned it to his pocket. Then he handed the 
frame, over the case, to the pawnbroker. 
"What do you think of that, my Christian 
friend?" he said with a show of jocularity 
that didn't ring quite true. 

The pawnbroker bent his dull face close to 
the article; it was gold. A pretty trinket, set 
with a number of brilliants, it might have 
come from the Rue Royale or the Rue de la 
Paix. 

"Cost about five hundred francs," observed 
Mr. Heatherbloom, watching the other closely. 
"One hundred dollars, without the duty." 

"Where'd you get it?" 



ii 9- 



«1 



138 A ]^AN AND HIS MONEY 

"None of your business." With a smile. 

The man moved toward a telephone at his 
back. "Do you know what Fm going to do ?'* 

"I am curious." 
'Phone the police." 
Is that an invitation for me to depart? If 
so—" Mr. Heatherbloom reached for the little 
gold frame. 

"Oh, no," said the man, retaining the grace- 
ful article. "The police will find out who this 
belongs to." 

"Tut! tut!" observed Mr. Heatherbloom 
lightly. Something on the edge of the show- 
case pointed over it; the hand the proprietor 
professed to raise toward the telephone fell to 
his side ; he seemed about to call out "Don't !" 
said the visitor. "It's loaded; you saw me 
put in the cartridges yourself. Your little 
game is very passe; I had it worked on me 
once before, and placed you in your class — 
a fourth-rater, with a crib for loot !" 

The other considered; this customer's man- 
ner was ominously quiet and easy; he didn't 
like it. A telepathic message that flashed from 



A NEW-FOUND THEORY 139 

the gleaming gaze above the shining tube sug- 
gested an utterly frivolous indifference to 
tragic consequences. The proprietor moved 
away from the telephone. 

"Fifteen dollars," he said. 

"Twenty," breathed Mr. Heatherbloom in- 
sinuatingly. 

The man put his hand in his pocket and 
counted out the money. The caller took it, said 
something in those same blithe significant 
accents about what would happen if the other 
made a move in the next two or three min- 
utes, then vanished from the store. He did 
not keep to the busy thoroughfare now, but 
shot into a side street. Would the pawnbroker 
hide the frame and then call the police? It 
was quite possible he might thus seek to get 
into their good graces and revenge himself at 
the same time. Mr. Heatherbloom turned 
from dark byway to dark byway. He knew 
there was a possibility that he might keep going 
throughout the night without being taken ; but 
what would he attain by so doing, how would 
that profit htm? 



I40 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He had to get back to New York at once, 
and as speedily as possible! The shining face 
of a street clock that a short time before he 
had looked at, admonished him there were no 
moments to spare, if he would carry out his 
plan, his headstrong purpose— 'to verify or 
disprove a certain wild theory — ^which would 
take him where, lead to what? No matter! 
Above, between black shadows of tall build- 
ings, he saw a star, bright, beautiful. Some- 
thing in him seemed to leap up to it — ^to that 
light as frostily clear as her eyes! A taxi 
passed ; he hailed it. 

**How much to Jersey City?" he asked in 
f everisll tones. 

The man approximated a figure; it was 
large, but Mr. Heatherbloom at once got in. 

"AH right," he said. "Only let her go ! I've 
a train to catch." 

"You don't want to land us in the police 
court, do you ?" asked the chauffeur. 

Mr. Heatherbloom devoutly hoped not . 



CHAPTER XI 



MISCALCULATIONS 



TWO days later, on a bright afternoon, a 
young man stood on the edge of a 
sea-wall called the Battery. It was not the 
Battery, commanding a view of the outgoing 
and incoming maritime traffic of the conti- 
nent's metropolis, but another Battery, over- 
looking another harbor, or estuary, landlocked 
save for an entrance about a mile in width. 
Behind him lay, not a great, but a little, city ; 
hardly more than a big town; before him a 
few vessels of moderate tonnage placidly plied 
the main or swash channels. 

The scene was tranquilizing; nevertheless 
the young man appeared out of harmony with 
it. His face wore a feverish flush; his eyes 
had a restless gleam. He had only a short 
time before come to town, entering in uncon- 

141 



142 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

ventional fashion. As the train had slack- 
ened at a siding on the outskirts he had quietly, 
and unperceived, slipped off the back platform 
of the rear car; then made his way by devious 
4 and little frequented side streets to the sea- 
front 

There, his eager gaze scanned the craft, 
moving in the open, or motionless at the disr 
tant wharfs. An expression of acute disai>- 
pointment passed over his features; his eyes 
did not find what they sought. Had that mad 
flight been for nothing? Had he but run into 
a new kind of "pocket'* here, all to no pur- 
pose? 

Mr. Heatherbloom sat down ; he was weary 
and worn. The dancing sparkles laughed at 
him; he did not feel like "laughing back*'. 
Even as he leaned against the parapet a news- 
boy close at hand called out : 

"All about the mysterious abduction! One 
of the miscreants traced to this city! Super- 
intendent of police warned of his probaMe 
arrival !" 



MISCALCULATIONS 143 

The lad looked at Mr. Heatherbloom as he 
shouted ; that gentleman returned his gaze with 
unflinching stolidness. 

"What abduction ?" he asked. 

"Beautiful New York heiress." 

The voice passed on ; the fugitive was once 
more alone with his thoughts. If they had 
been wild, turbulent before, what were they 
now? His hands closed; at the moment he 
did not bemoan his own probable fate, only 
the fact that the clue bringing him here had 
been false — false! 

Another voice — this time a man's — ^accosted 
him. Mr. Heatherbloom sprang swiftly to his 
feet but the person, an old darky, did not 
appear very formidable. 

"Got a match, boss?" he inquired mildly. 

Mr. Heatherbloom's bright suspicious glance 
shot into the good-humored, open look of the 
other; that person's manner betrayed no ulte- 
rior motive. Perhaps he had not yet heard the 
newsboy; did not know — Mechanically the 
young man answered that he did not possess 



144 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

the article required, but the intruder still lin- 
gered ; he had accosted the other partly because 
of a desire for desultory conversation. Mr. 
Heatherbloom, after a moment's careful scru- 
tiny, showed a disposition to be accommodat- 
ing in this regard ; he even took the initiative — 
suddenly, asking question after question about 
this boat and that Her name; when she had 
come; where she was going; of what her cargo 
consisted? The other replied willingly. Like 
many of his kind in the port, although he could 
not read or write, he was wise in harbor- front 
knowledge, knew all the floating tramps and 
the sailing craft. 

"I suppose it's always about the same old 
boats drop in here?" Mr. Heatherbloom, after 
a little, observed insinuatingly. 

"Yes, always de same ole tubs," assented 
the darky. • 

A shadow crossed the other's face, but he 
managed to assume a light air. "Battered 
hulks and sailing brigs of a past generation, 
eh ?" He put the case strongly, but the darky 
only nodded smilingly. His strong point in 



MISCALCULATIONS 145 

conversation was in agreeing with people; he 
even forgot patriotism toward his own port in 
being amiable. 

Mr. Heatherbloom glanced now beyond 
them to the right and the left ; but no one whom 
he had reason to fear came within scope of his 
vision. His figure relaxed. When would they 
come to take him ? The newsboy's words reit- 
erated themselves in his mind. "Traced to 
this city !" Of course ; Miss Van Rolsen's mil- 
lions were at the command of the secret-service 
bureau; his description had been telegfraphed 
far and wide. And when it should be fruitful 
of results, what would become of his theory? 
Nevertheless, he would go on, while he could, 
to the last. 

If he tried to explain they would consider 
it but a paltry blind to cover his own crimi- 
nality. He could expect no help from them; 
he had to triumph or fail through his own 
efforts. To fail, certainly; it was decreed. 

For the moment something in his breast 
pocket seemed to burn there, a tiny object, now 
without the frame. Involuntarily he raised 



146 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

his hand; then his figure swayed; the street 
waved up and down. He had eaten little dur- 
ing the last two or three days. Scornfully in 
his own mind he berated that momentary weak- 
ness and steadied himself. His eyes, cold and 
clear, now returned to the colored man; he 
groped for and took up the thread of the talk 
where he had left it. 

"Old hulks and brigs! You don't ever hap- 
pen to have any really fine boats come in here, 
do you? Like Mr. Morgan's big private 
yacht, for example?" 

"No; we ain't never seen dat craft yere. 
Dis port's more for lumber and — " 

Mr. Heatherbloom looked down. "I saw 
an item in the paper"— he strove to speak 
unconcernedly — ''a Marconigram — that a cer- 
tain Russian prince's private yacht — ^the 
Nevski — ^had damaged her propeller, or some 
other part of her gear, and was being towed 
into this harbor for emergency repairs." 

"Oh, yes, boss !" said the man. The listener 
took a firmer grip on the parapet. "You done 
mean de big white boat w'at lies on de odder 



MISCALCULATIONS 147 

side ob de island; can't see her from yere. 
Dey done fix her up mighty quick an' she 
gwine ter lebe to-night." 

"Leave to-night !" Mr. Heatherbloom's face 
changed ; suppressed eagerness, expectancy 
shone from his eyes ; he turned away to conceal 
it from the other. "Looks like good fishing 
over there near the island," he observed after 
a pause 

"Tain't so much for fishin' as crabbin'/' 
returned the other. 

"Crabbing!" repeated Mr. Heatherbloom. 
"A grand sport! Now if — ^are you a crab- 
ber?" The darky confessed that crabbing was 
his main occupation ; his boat swung right over 
there; for a dollar he would give the other 
several hours' diversion. 

Mr. Heatherbloom accepted the offer with 
alacrity. A few moments later, seated in a 
dilapidated cockle-shell, he found himself 
skimming over the water. The boat didn't 
ship the tops of many seas but it took in 
enough spray over the port bow to drench 
pretty thoroughly the passenger. In the stem. 



148 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

the darky handling the sheet of a small, much 
patched sail, kept himself comparatively dry. 
But Mr. Heatherbloom didn't seem to mind 
the drenching; though the briny drops stung 
his cheek, his face continued ever bent for- 
ward, toward a point of land to the right of 
which lay the island that came ever nearer, but 
slowly — ^so slowly! 

He could see the top of the spars of a vessel 
now over the high sand-hills; his body bent 
toward it; in his eyes shone a steely light 
Their little boat drew closer to the near side 
of the island ; the hillocks stood up higher ; the 
tapering topmasts of the craft on the other 
side disappeared. The crabber's cockle-shell 
came to anchor in a tranquil sandy cove. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, although inwardly chaf- 
ing, felt obliged to restrain impatience; he 
could not afford to awaken the darky's sus^ 
picions, therefore he simulated interest and 
— "crabbed". He enjoyed a streak of good 
luck, but his artificial enthusiasm soon waned. 
He at length suggested trying the other side 
of the island, whereupon his pilot expostulated. 



MISCALCULATIONS 149 

What more did his passenger want? The 
latter thought he would stretch his legs a bit 
on the shore; it made him stiff to sit still so 
long. He would get out and walk around — 
he had a predilection for deserted islands. 
While he was gfratifying his fancy the darky 
could return to his more remunerative business 
of gathering in the denizens of the deep. 

Five minutes later Mr. Heathe^bloom stood 
on the sandy beach; he started as if to walk 
around the island but had not gone far before 
he turned and moved at a right angle up over 
the sand-hill. The duU-hued bushes that some* 
how found nourishment on the yellow mound 
now concealed his figure from the boatman; 
the same hardy vegetation afforded him a shel- 
ter from the too inquisitive gaze of any persons 
on the yacht when he had gained the summit 
of the sands. 

There, he peered through the leaves down 
upon a beautiful vessel. She lay near the 
shore ; whatever her injury, it seemed to have 
been repaired by this time for few signs of 
life were apparent on or about hen Steam 



ISO A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

was up ; a faint dun-colored smoke swept, pen- 
non-like, from her white funnels. Some one 
was inspecting her stem from a platform 
swung over the rail, and to Mr. Heather- 
bloom's strained vision this person's interest, 
or concern, centered in the mechanism of her 
rudder. The trouble had been there no doubt, 
and if so, the yacht had probably come, or 
been brought near the island at high water, 
and at low tide any damage she might have 
suffered had been attended to. Her injury 
must have been more vexatious than serious. 
Would she, as the darky had affirmed, leave 
when the tide was once more at its full ? Her 
lying in the outer, instead of in the inner 
harbor, seemed significant. Time passed ; the 
person on the platform regained the deck and 
disappeared. In the bushes the watcher sud- 
denly started. 

Something at one of the port windows had 
caught his glance. A ribbon ? A fluttering bit 
of lace? A woman's features that phantom- 
like had come and vanished? He looked hard 
— ^so steadily that spots began to dance before 



MISCALCULATIONS 151 

f 

his sight, but he could not verify that first im- 
pression. Yet he remained. The shadows on 
the furze grew longer, falling in strange an- 
gular shapes down the hillside ; the sun dipped 
low. At length Mr. Heatherbloom, after the 
manner of one who had made up his mind to 
something, abruptly rose. 

He walked back toward the cove where he 
had disembarked. As he drew near the darky 
caught sight of him, pulled up "anchor" and 
paddled his boat to the shore. But Mr. Heath- 
erbloom did not at once get in ; his eyes rested 
on the bushel or so of freshly caught, bubble- 
blowing crabs. He strove to appear calm and 
matter-of-fact. 

"What do you expect to get for them?" he 
asked, pointing. 

" 'Bout fifty cents de dozen, boss. Crab 
market ain't what it ought ter be jest now." 

"Why don't you try to sell them to the yacht 
over there?" Mr. Heatherbloom managed to 
speak carelessly but it was a difficult task. 

"Jest becos she is 'over there', boss," re- 
turned the darky lazily. "Mighty swift tide 



152 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

sweeping around de head of dat island!" he 
explained. 

"And you don't like rowing against it?" 
Quickly. "See here, I'll tell you what I'll do. 
I like a bit of exercise, and just for the gamble, 
I'll give you sixty cents a dozen for the lot, 
and keep all I can get over that. The owner 
of tliat craft is a Russian and all Russians like 
sea food. When they can't get caviar, they'll 
no doubt make a bid for crabs." 

"Dat sounds like berry good argumentation, 
boss. Make it seventy" — avarice struggling on 
the dusky countenance — "an' — ^" 

"Done!" said Mr. Heatherbloom, endeavor- 
ing to disguise the fierce eagerness welling 
within him. "Here's on account !" Tossing his 
last bill to the other. "And now, get out. It'll 
be easier pulling without you." 

The darky grinned and obeyed. This was a 
strenuous passenger truly, not averse to stiff 
rowing, after a stiff walk, "jest for pleasure". 
But the dusky pilot had met these anomalous 
white beings before — ^**spo'tsmen", they called 
themselves. And a certain sense of humor, as 



MISCALCULATIONS 153 

Mr. Heatherbloom sat down to the oars, caused 
the colored man involuntarily to hum: I'se 
got a white man arworkin' for me. He had 
only finished a bar or two, however, when 
the tune abruptly ceased on his lips. *t)at's 
too bad," he said. "I guess de deal's off, boss." 
Regretfully. 

"Eh?" Mr. Heatherbloom looked around. 
He meant to keep the man to his bargain now, 
by force if necessary. 

"Look dar!" continued the darky. 

Mr. Heatherbloom did look in the direction 
indicated. A puff of black smoke could be 
seen rising over the island, and — significant 
fact ! — ^the dark smudge seemed to be crawling 
along beyond the sky-line of the sand-hill. The 
young man turned pale. 

"It's de Russian yacht, boss. She's under 
way all right!" 

Mr. Heatherbloom continued to gaze. Where 
the island was lower he saw the topmasts mov- 
ing along — ^then the boat herself, white, beau- 
tiful, swinging out from behind, with bow 
pointed seaward and steaming fast 



154 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



U 



Dat's too bad," murmured the colored man. 
I done be powerful disappointed, boss !" 
The other did not answer. Going! going! 
He had waited too long to board her. He 
could not reach her now — ^he would never reach 
her. The flame of the dying sun flared in Mr. 
Heatherbloom's face, but he continued mo- 
tionless. 



CHAPTER XII 



ON THE ROAD 



GONE! It was the only word he could 
think of. Every thought, every emo- 
tion centered around it. He could not reason 
or argue. No plan occurred to him now. He 
continued to sit still, seeing but one picture — sl 
boat vanishing. Night had begun to fall as they 
returned to the city. Its lights played mock- 
ingly in the darkness. Mr. Heatherbloom 
viewed them with apathetic gaze. The secret- 
service man, the chief of police and his assist- 
ants were on shore somewhere waiting to cap- 
ture him, but he did not care. Let them take 
him now ! What did it matter ? 

When the boat reached land he got out like 
an automaton. Perhaps he made answer to 
the darky's last cheerful good night, but if so 
he spoke without knowing it. The boatman 



156 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

let him go, willingly ; Mr. Heatherbloom hadn't 
asked for his last bill back again and the other 
overlooked reminding him of his remissness. 
The greenback was considerably more than 
the fare. 

Indifferent to his fate, Mr. Heatherbloom 
moved on; no one molested him. He walked 
along dark highways, not through fear of being 
apprehended, but because his mood was dark. 
He did not even notice where he went ; he just 
kept going. He forgot he was hungry, but at 
length, as in a dream, he began to realize a 
physical weariness. Overwrought nature as- 
serted itself; he was not made of iron; his 
muscles responded reluctantly. Without ob- 
serving his surroundings, he sank listlessly to 
the earth ; the cool grass received his exhausted 
frame. Beyond, some distance away, the lights 
of the city threw now a sullen glow on the sky. 
All was comparatively still about him; the 
noise of the city was replaced by the lighter 
sound of vehicles on th^ well kept, almost non- 
resounding country road. It seemed to be a 
main thoroughfare, but with little life and 



ON THE ROAD 157 

animation about it at that evening hour. A 
buggy did go by occasionally, however, and, 
not far from Mr. Heatherbloom, at a curb, 
stood a motor-car. 

He had suffered himself to relax qn the 
ground in front of a small house set well back 
among spectral-looking trees and surrounded 
by a stone wall overgrown with foliage. Mr. 
Heatherbloom remained unmindful of his sur- 
roundings. The lamps of the car near by 
were not lighted; a single figure on the front 
seat was barely distinguishable. Now this 
person got down and lighted a cigarette; he 
seemed restless, walked to and fro, and glanced 
once or twice at the house. From a single 
window a faint light gleamed ; then it vanished, 
only to reappear a few moments later at an- 
other window. Among the masses of foliage 
fireflies glistened; a tree-toad began to make 
a sound but almost immediately stopped. The 
front door had apparently opened and some 
person or persons came out. The faint crunch- 
ings on the gravel indicated more than one 
person. Now they stepped on the grass, for 



IS8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

there were no audible indications of their ap- 
proach. The man near the machine threw 
quickly away his cigarette and opened the door 
of the car. Several people, issuing from the 
gate, crossed the sidewalk and got in. Mr. 
Heatherbloom was hardly aware of the fact; 
they seemed but unmeaning shadows. 

The driver bent over and lighted one of his 
lamps. As he did so, the flare revealed for an 
instant his face — ^square, rather handsome and 
bearded. A faint flicker of interest, for some 
reason undefinable to himself at the moment, 
swept over Mr. Heatherbloom. He had been 
lying where the grass was tall and now raised 
himself on his elbow, the better to peer over 
the waving tops. The car had gathered head- 
way and swung out into the road, when sud- 
denly some one in it laughed and uttered an 
exclamation in a foreign tongue. That musical 
note — 2L word he did not understand — ^was 
wafted to Mr. Heatherbloom. It acted upon 
him like a galvanic shock ; he sprang to his feet 
and, bewildered, stared after the machine. 
What had happened; was he dreaming? He 



ON THE ROAD 159 

could hardly at first believe the evidence of his 
senses, for the laugh, coming back to him in the 
night, was that of the woman for whom he had 
procured employment at Miss Van Rolsen's. 
He could have sworn to the fact now. And the 
man whose countenance he had so briefly seen ' 
was, no doubt, of her own nationality — b, 
Russian I 

Involuntarily, without realizing what he did, 
Mr. Heatherbloom started to run in the direc- 
tion the car had gone, but he soon stopped. 
What madness! — to attempt to catch a sixty- 
horse-power machine! Why, it was nearly a 
mile away already. The young man stood 
stock-still while a cogent reaction swept over 
him. The woman had passed within fifty feet 
of where he had lain, head near the earth, mop- 
ing. A mocking desire to atone for a great 
remissness found him impotent. There seemed 
nothing for him to do now but to reconcile 
himself to the irreconcilable, to stay here, 
while every desire urged him to follow her, 
to learn why this woman was in the car and 
who was with her. Naturally, he had expected 



i6o A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

she would be on the yacht now steaming away 
out to sea, and here she was. A new enigma 
confronted him. 

Mr. Heatherbloom continued to stand in the 
center of the road. His head whirled; he 
panted hard, out of breath from his recent 
dash. A loud honk! honk! from another 
machine coming tmexpectedly up behind, 
caused him to leap aside just in time. The 
second car whizzed by, although obeying an 
impulse bom on the instant, he called out 
wildly, waving his arms to bring it to a halt 
If they saw his strange motions — which was 
unlikely, the night being dark — they did not 
heed them. Soon the second machine was some 
distance away ; then its rear light gleamed like 
a vanishing coal and suddenly disappeared alto- 
gether around a bend of the road. 

He looked back; no other vehicle of any 
description was in sight now. But it profited 
nothing to continue passive, immovable. He 
had to act, to walk on, no matter how slowly ; 
his face, at least, was set in the direction f.he 
woman had gone. How long it took hini to 



ON THE ROAD i6i 

reach the turn of the thoroughfare he could 
not tell, but at length there, he came again to 
an abrupt stop. Some distance ahead in the 
road appeared a machine, motionless — ^waiting, 
or broken down. 

Which car was it ? The one containing the 
woman, or the other that came after? If the 
former — He pressed on eagerly, yet keeping 
to the shadows, alive once more to the need 
of caution. His heart pounded hard ; he could 
see a form passing in front of the machine; 
the light of the lamp enabled him now to make 
out the other occupants — ^three men. No 
woman was with them. This became poign- 
antly, irrefutably evident as he drew nearer. 
He could see plainly the empty car and the 
trio of figures ; he could hear them talking but 
was not yet able to distinguish what they said. 
These were the people whose attention he had 
tried to attract back there in the road. His 
purpose then, occurring to him in a flash, re- 
newed itself strongly now. He would ask 
their aid; circumstances might enable him to do 
so now with better grace. He had had a good 



i62 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

deal of experience with cars of divers kinds 
and makes at different times in the past. Why 
not proffer these strangers his fairly expert 
services? He felt sure he could soon learn, 
and repair, what was wrong with the machine. 
Having made himself useful, he could then 
intimate that a "lift" down the road would be 
acceptable. And he would probably get it. 

But he did not carry out his intention. 
Something he heard as he came closer to them 
caused him to hesitate and reconsider. Mixed 
with anathemas directed against the car, of 
rather a cheap t)q)e, were words that had for 
him more than passing significance. These 
men were after some one, and that the some 
one was none other than himself, Mr. Heather- 
bloom soon became fully convinced. Fate 
had been kinder to him than he knew when he 
had endeavored, and failed, to win their notice. 
He crouched back now against a rail fence; 
their low disgruntled tones were still borne to 
him. For some moments they continued to 
work over the machine without apparently 
being able to set it to rights. 



ON THE ROAD 163 

"If this goes on much longer," said one of 
them, "he'll get away from Brownville." 

"Providin' he's there!" grumbled another. 
"People are always seeing an escaped criminal 
in a dozen different localities at the same time." 

Brownville ! The listener soon divined, from 
a sentence dropped here and there, that the 
place was a little fishing village a short dis- 
tance down the coast. He surmised, also, that 
they had by this time the main harbor of the 
city fairly watched as far as outgoing vessels 
were concerned, and were reaching out to pre- 
vent a possible exit from the smaller comnju- 
nity. Fishing craft leaving from there could 
easily take out a fugitive and thus enable him 
to escape. This contingency the authorities were 
now endeavoring to avert; that they also had 
some kind of a clue, pointing to their present 
destination and inciting them to make haste 
thither, was evident from the skeptical remark 
Mr. Heatherbloom had overheard. 

A series of explosions, as sudden as spas- 
modic, broke in on the listener's thoughts. 
"Hurray!" said one. "We're off!" 



i64 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

And they were, quickly. Mr. Heatherbloom 
also moved with extreme abruptness and ex- 
pedition. Waiting in the shadow until they 
had all sprung into the car and the machine 
had fairly started, he then darted forward, 
seized a strap and clinging as best he might, 
hoisted himself to the place in the rear designed 
for a trunk. One desire only, in resorting to 
this expedient, moved him — ^to get in touch as 
soon as possible, if possible, with the other car. 
This machine, of inferior build, suggested, it is 
true, a dubious way to that end but it was the 
best that offered. 

He did not see the incongruity of his posi- 
tion, of being a passenger, though secretly 
and surreptitiously, of the car containing 
those embarked on a mission so closely con- 
cerning himself. Instead of fleeing from them 
he was actually courting their company, pur- 
suing himself, as it were ! At another time he 
might have smiled; now the situation had for 
him nothing of the comic; it was tragically 
grim, also decidedly unpleasant. A strong odor 



ON THE ROAD 165 

of gasolene permeated his nostrils until he was 
nearly suffocated by it and all the dust, stirred 
by their flight, swirled up on him, making it 
difficult to refrain from coughing. Fortu- 
nately the machine had a monopoly on noises, 
and any sound from him would have passed 
unnoticed. He had ridden the "bumpers" not 
so long ago on freights, and, perforce, in- 
dulged in kindred uncomfortable methods of 
free transportation in the course of his recent 
career, but he had never experienced anything 
quite so little to be desired as this. 

The driver had begun to speed; as if to 
make up for lost time, he was forcing the en- 
gine to its limit. The machine, of light con- 
struction, shook violently, negotiated the steep 
places with jumps and slid down on the other 
side with breakneck velocity. The dust thick- 
ened about Mr. Heatherbloom's head so that he 
could scarcely see. His arms ached and every 
bump nearly tore him loose. He wound the 
strap around his wrist and strove to ensconce 
himself deeper in a place not large enough for 



/ 



h' 



1 

i 



i66 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

him. He was on an edge all the time, and felt 
as if he were falling over every moment; the 
edge, too, was sharp and dug into him. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, however, had little 
thought of bodily discomfort; he was more 
concerned in making prog^ress and the diffi- 
culty of maintaining his position. His only fear 
was that he would be compelled to abandon his 
place because his physical energy might not 
be equal to the demands put upon it. He 
set his teeth now and began to count the 
seconds. The faster they went, the better was 
his purpose served; he strove to find encour- 
agement in the thought. The other car could 
make a superior showing in the way of speed, 
but it might stop voluntarily somewhere after 
a while, or something might happen to arrest 
its progress. The race did not always belong 
to the swift He endeavored to formulate 
some plan as to just what he would do if he 
did finally manage to overtake the woman and 
her party, but at length ceased trying. Suffi- 
cient unto the moment were the problems 
thereof ; he could but strive in the present He 



ON THE ROAD 167 

dispelled the fear that he could not hold on 
much longer, and filled himself with new deter- 
mination not to yield. But even as he did so, a 
bigger bump than any they had yet encountered 
jerked him abruptly from his place. 

When finally he managed to collect himself 
and his senses and sit up uncertainly in the 
road, the car was far away. The snap of 
exploding gasolene grew faint — fainter — ^then 
ceased altogether. 



u 



CHAPTER XIII 



IN THE NIGHT 



A WAYWORN figure, some time there- 
after, moved slowly along the deserted 
road, where it ran like a winding ribbon over 
the top of a great bluff. A sea wind, coming 
in varying gusts, bent low the long grass and 
rustled in the bushes. The moon had escaped 
from behind dark clouds in a stormy sky and 
threw its rays far and wide. They imparted a 
frosty sheen to the wavy surface between road 
and sea and brightened the thoroughfare, 
which, lengthening tortuously, disappeared 
beneath in a tangle of forest or underbrush. 

Mr. Heatherbloom jg^azed wearily down the 
road, then over the grass. In the latter direc- 
tion, afar, a $trip of ocean lay like an argent 
stream flowing between the top of the bank 
and the horizon. Toward that illusory river 

i68 



IN THE NIGHT 169 

he, leaving the main highway, walked in some- 
what discouraged fashion. It might avail him 
little, so much time had elapsed, but from the 
edge of the bluff he would be afforded a view 
of the surrounding coimtry and the topography 
of the coast 

A vast spread of the ocean unfolded to his 
gaze before he had reached the brink of the 
prominence. His heavy-lidded eyes, sweep- 
ing to the right, rested on a heterogeneous 
group of dwellings scattered well above the 
sands and directly below a wooded uprising of 
land. Myriad specks of light glimmered amid 
shadowy roofs. Brownville? Undoubtedly! 
A board walk ran along the ocean and a small 
pier extended like an arm over the water. On 
the faintly glistening sands old boats, drawn 
up here and there, resembled so many black 
footprints. 

Not far from where Mr. Heatherbloom 
stood a path went downward, a shorter way 
to the village than by the road he had just left. 
He stared unthinkingly a moment at the nar- 
row walk ; then began mechanically to descend. 



I70 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

A dull realization weighed on him that when 
he reached his destination the woman would 
be far away. He wondered why he had gone 
on, under the circumstances — ^why he had ever 
thought he stood a ghost of a chance of over- 
taking her? Only the hopelessness of the sit- 
uation, in all its grim verity, faced him now. 

The path zigzagged through the bushes. At 
a turn the village was lost to sight; in front 
was a sheer fall to the sea. As he kept on, pro- 
jecting branches struck him and raising his 
hand to guard his face, he tripped and almost 
fell. Recovering himself, he glanced down; 
something had caught on his shoe and he 
leaned over to loosen it. His fingers closed on 
a long strip of soft substance — sl veil, the kind 
worn by women motoring! Mr. Heather- 
bloom's eyes rested on it apathetically, then 
with a sudden flash of interest; a faint but 
heavy perfume emanated from the silky fila- 
ment It was darkish in hue — ^brown, he 
should say; the Russian woman was partial 
to that color. The thought came to him quick- 
ly; he stood bewildered. What if it were hers? 



IN THE NIGHT 171 

Then how had it come here, on this narrow 
foot-path, unless — Had the big car stopped 
at the top of the promontory and discharged 
its passengers there? But why should it have 
done so ; for what possible reason ? 

He could think of none. Other women came 
this way — ^the path was not difficult. Other 
women wore brown veils. And yet that odd 
familiar fragrance — It seemed to belong to 
a foreign bizarre personality such as Sonia 
Turgeinov's. 

Crushing in his palm the veil he thrust it 
into his pocket. He would find out more be- 
low, possibly; if she had actually passed this 
way. .A feverish zest was bom anew; the au- 
thorities were looking for her as well as for 
himself, he remembered. She, apparently, had 
so far cleverly evaded them; if he could but 
lead them to her he would not mind so much 
his own apprehension. Her presence in the 
locality at the same time the Nevski had 
been in the harbor would fairly prove the cor- 
rectness of his theory of Miss Dalrymple's 
whereabouts. If he could now deliver the Rus- 



172 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

sian woman into the hands of the law, he would 
have a wedge to force the powers that be to 
give credence to at least the material part of 
his story — ^that the prince had left port with the 
young girl — and to compel them to see the 
necessity of acting at once. That he, him- 
self, would be held equally culpable with the 
woman was of no moment. 

Fatigue seemed to fall from his shoulders. 
He went along more swiftly, inspired with new 
vague hopes. Down — down! The voice of 
the sea grew nearer; now he could hear the 
dull thud of the waves, then the weird whis- 
tling sounds that succeeded. Springing from a 
granite outjutting to the sands, he looked 
eagerly, searchingly, this way and that. He 
saw no one. His gaze lowered and he walked 
from the dry to the wet strand. There he 
stopped, an exclamation escaping his lips. 

A faint light, falling between black rocks, 
revealed fresh footprints on the surface of the 
sands, and, yes !-r— a long furrow — ^the marks of 
the keel of a boat. He studied the footprints 
closer, but without discovering signs of a 



IN THE NIGHT 173 

woman's ; only the indentations of heavy sea- 
men's boots were in evidence Mr. Heather- 
bloom experienced a keen disappointment; then 
felt abruptly reassured. The impress of her 
lighter tread had been eliminated by the men in 
lifting and pushing to launch the boat. Their 
boots had roughly kicked up the sand there- 
abouts. 

He was fairly satisfied the woman had em- 
barked. The seclusion of the spot favored the 
assumption; the fishing-boats were all either 
stranded, or at anchor, nearer the village. But 
why and whither had she gone? The ocean, in 
front, failed to answer the latter question, and 
his glapce turned. On the one hand was the 
village; on the other, high, almost perpendicu- 
lar rocks ran seaward, obscuring the view. It 
would not be easy to get around that point; 
without a boat it could not be done. 

Mr. Heatherbioom began to walk briskly to- 
ward the village ; the moon threw his shadow 
in odd bobbing motions here and there. Once 
he stopped abruptly; some one on the beach 
afar was approaching. A fisherman? Mr. 



174 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Heatherbloom crouched back among the rocks, 
when the person came to a halt. Clinging to 
the shadows on the landward side of the beach 
the young man continued to advance, but cau- 
tiously, for a single voice might now start a 
general hue and cry. Beyond, closer to town, 
he could see other forms, small dark moving 
spots. Not far distant, however, lay the near- 
est boat; to get to her he had to expose him- 
self to the pale glimmer. No alternative re- 
mained. He stepped quickly across the sand, 
reached the craft and strove to launch her. But 
she was clumsy and heavy, and resisted his ef- 
forts. The man, whoever he might be, was 
coming closer ; he called out and Mr. Heather- 
bloom pushed and struggled more desperately 
— ^without avail! He cast a quick glance over 
his shoulder; the man was running toward 
him — ^his tones now rang out loudly, authori- 
tatively. Mr. Heatherbloom did not obey that 
stem command to halt ; instead he made a wild 
abrupt dash for the sea. The report of a re- 
volver awoke the echoes and a bullet whizzed 
dose. Recklessly he plunged into the water. 



IN THE NIGHT 175 

The man on the shore emptied his weapon, 
but with \^hat success he could not tell. A 
head amid the dark waves was not easily dis- 
cernible. Another and larger object, however, 
was plainly apparent about a hundred yards 
from land — a fishing-boat that swung at an- 
chor. Would the other succeed in reaching it, 
for that was, no doubt, his purpose, or had one 
of the leaden missives told? The man, with 
weapon hot, waited. He scanned the water, 
then looked toward the town. A number of 
figures on the beach were hastening in his di- 
rection; from the pier afar, a naphtha put out; 
he could hear faintly the sound of the engine. 

Suddenly, above the boat at anchor near the 
man on shore, a sail shot up, then fluttered and 
snapped in the wind. A moment later it was 
drawn in, the line holding the craft to the buoy 
slipped out, and the bow swung sharply around. 
Mr. Heatherbloom worked swiftly; one desire 
moved him — to get around that point before 
being overtaken — ^to discover what lay beyond. 
Then let happen what would ! He reached for 
a line and hoisted a jib, though it was almost 



176 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

more canvas than his small craft could carry. 
She careened and plunged, throwing the spray 
high. He turned a quick glance back toward 
the naphtha. The sky had become overcast, and 
distant objects were not so easily discernible on 
the surface of the water, but he made out her 
lights — two ! She was head on for him. 

He looked steadily ahead again. The grim 
line of out- jutting rocks — 2l black shadow 
against the sky — exercised a weird fascina- 
tion for him. He was well out in the open now 
where the wind blew a half-gale. His figure 
was wet from the sea but he felt no chill. Sud- 
denly the hand gripping the tiller tightened, 
and his heart gave a great bound; then sank. 
Not far from that portentous point of land he 
saw another light — green ! A boat was emerg- 
ing from the big basin of water beyond. The 
starboard signal, set high above the waves, be- 
longed to no small craft such as the woman 
had embarked in. The sight of it fitted a con- 
tingency that had flashed through his brain on 
the beach. The realization left him helpless 
now — ^his last opportunity was gone! 



IN THE NIGHT 177 

He shifted the tiller violently, recklessly. At 
that moment a shrill whistle from behind re- 
minded him once more of the naphtha ; he could 
have laughed. What was the wretched little 
puffing thing to him now? The single green 
light — ^that alone was the all in all. It be- 
longed to the Nevski he was sure; for one 
reason or another she had but made pretense 
of going to sea, and, instead, had come here— ^ 
to wait. The woman was on her now, and, 
also — The thought maddened him. 

Again that piercing whistle! The naphtha 
was coming up fast; amid the turmoil of his 
thoughts he realized this vaguely. He did not 
wish to find himself delivered unto them yet — 
not just yet ! A wilder recklessness seized him. 
Clouds sped across the heavens like gripping 
furies' hands; the water ran level to his boat's 
gunwales but he refused to ease her. All the 
while he was drawing nearer the single green 
light — ^a mocking light, signal of a mocking 
chase that had led, and could lead, to nothing. 
Still he went on, tossed by the waves — sport of 
them. He had to play the play out. Oh, to 



178 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

see better, to visualize to the utmost the last 
scene of his poignant drama of failure! 

In the naphtha some one's voice belched - 
through a megaphone; he laughed outright 
now. Come and get him, if they wanted him I 
He would give them as merry a dash as pos- 
sible. His boat raced madly through the water 
— ^nearer, yet nearer the green light. Now a 
large dark outline loomed before him; he 
would have to stop, to come about in a moment, 
or — A great wave struck him, half filling his 
boat, but he did not seem to notice. 

A dazzling white glow suddenly surrounded 
him ; from the naphtha a search-light had been 
flashed. It fell on him fully, sprinkled over 
on the wild hurtling waves beyond, and just 
touched the side of the outgoing vessel. Mr. 
Heatherbloom looked toward the vessel and his 
pupils dilated. The light leaped into the air 
with the motion of the naphtha, and, in an in- 
stant was gone, but the impress of a single de- 
tail remained on his retina — of a side ladder, 
lowered, no doubt, for the woman, and not yet 
hoisted into place on the big boat. 



IN THE NIGHT 179 

The wildness of the sea seemed to surge 
through Mr. Heatherbloom's veins ; he did not 
come about ; he did not try to. Now it was too 
late ! That ladder ! — ^he would seize it as they 
swept by. Closer his boat ran ; a swirl of water 
caught him, threw him from his course. He 
made a frantic effort to regain it but without 
avail. The big steel bow of the great boat 
struck and overwhelmed the little craft. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE CRISIS 



ON the Nevski, the lookout forward 
walked slowly back and forth. Once or 
twice he shook his head. But a few moments 
before the yacht had run down a small boat, 
he had reported the matter, and — ^the Nevski 
had continued ahead, full speed. She had not 
even slackened long enough to make the usual 
futile pretense of extending assistance^to the 
unfortunate occupant, or occupants. His ex- 
cellency. Prince Boris, evidently did not wish, 
or had no time, to bother with blunderers; if 
they got in his way so much the worse for 
them. The lookout, pausing to stare once more 
ahead, suddenly started. Though apathetic, 

like most of the lower class of his countrymen, 
he uttered a faint guttural of surprise and 
peered over the bow. A voice had seemed to 

i8o 



THE CRISIS i8i 

rise from the very seething depths of the sea. 
• Naturally superstitious, he made the sign of 
the cross on his breast while tales of dead sea- 
men who came back played through his dull 
fancy. 

Once more he heard it — ^that voice that 
seemed to mingle with the wailing tones of the 
deep ! The little swinging lantern beneath the 
bowsprit played on his bearded face as he bent 
farther forward, and, with growing wonder 
not unmixed with fear, now made out some- 
thing dark clinging to one of the steel lines that 
ran from the projecting timber to the ship. It 
took the lookout a few moments to realize that 
this dark object that had a voice — ^albeit a faint 
one — could not be other than a recent occupant 
of the small boat he had seen disappear. This 
person must have leaped upward at the critical 
moment, and caught one of the taut strands 
upon which he had somehow managed to hoist 
himself and to which he now clung desperately. 
It was a precarious position and one that the 
motion of the yacht made but briefly tenable. 
Satisfied that the dark object was a reality 



i82 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

and not an unwonted visitation, the lookout be- 
gan deliberately to unloosen a gasket Moments 
might be eternity to the man below, but Musco- 
vite slowness is not to be hurried. The yacht's 
bow poised in mid air a breathless instant; 
chaos seemed leaping upward toward Mr. 
Heatherbloom, when something — a line — 
struck and rubbed against his cheek. He seized 
and trusted himself to it eagerly. The sailor 
was strong ; he pulled in the rope. Mr. Heath- 
erbloom came up, but his strength was almost 
gone. He would have let go when iron fingers 
closed on his wrists, and after that he remem- 
bered no more. 

He awoke in a berth in a fo'castle, and it 
was daylight. Through a partly-opened hatch 
he could see the fine spray that came over the 
side of the yacht. Amid misty particles 
touched by the sun shone a tiny segment of 
rainbow. This Mr. Heatherbloom watched 
with a kind of childish interest ; then stretched 
himself more luxuriously on the hard bunk. It 
was very fine having nothing more important 
and arduous to do than watching prismatic 



THE CRISIS 183 

hues ; his thoughts floated back to long forgot- 
ten wonder-days when he had possessed that 
master-marvel of toys, a kaleidoscope, and on 
occasion had importantly permitted the golden- 
haired child in the big house on the top of the 
hill to— 

The dream was abruptly dispelled by some 
one laying a tarry hand on his shoulder. Mr. 
Heatherbloom raised himself. The person had 
a characteristic Russian face. For a momept the 
young man stared at the stolid features, then 
looked around him. He saw the customary 
furnishings of such a place; hammocks, bags 
and chests, several of the last marked with 
Russian characters. A trace of color sprang 
to Mr. Heatherbloom's face; he realized now 
what boat he was actually on, and what it all 
meant to him. He could hardly believe, how- 
ever, and continued to regard the upside down 
odd lettering, when the sailor, who had so un- 
ceremoniously disturbed him, motioned him to 
get out. Mr. Heatherbloom obeyed; he felt 
very stiff and somewhat light-headed, but he 
steadied himself against the woodwork. The 



i84 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

sailor drew a dipperful of hot tea from a sam- 
ovar and thrust it into his hand. He drank 
with avidity; after which the sailor made him 
to understand he was to follow. 

The young man hesitated — s, new risk con- 
fronted him. To whom would he be taken? 
The prince? He had once been standing 
in the area way of the Van Rolsen house 
when the nobleman had approached. Had 
the distinguished visitor then been so ab- 
sorbed in the sight of Miss Dalfymple coming 
down the steps that he had utterly failed to 
observe the humble caretaker of canines? 
Possibly — ^and again possibly not. In the for- 
mer contingency he might yet have a brief 
oreathing-spell to think — to plan for the fu- 
ture, unless — There was another to reckon 
with — ^the woman he had met in the park, 
whose automobile he had attempted to follow. 
She, too, was on the boat! He had been her 
dupe once. Was he now to become her victim? 

The young man's jaw set. There was no 
holding back now, however; he had to go on 
— ^and he did, with seeming indifference and 



THE CRISIS 185 

bold enough step. At the top of the ladder the 
sailor passed him on to some one else — an offi- 
cer — ^who led him this way and that until they 
reached a secluded part of the deck, where, 
near the rail, stood a tall dark figure, glass in 
hand. Until the last moment Mr. Heather- 
bloom had hoped it might be only the captain 
he would be called on to encounter, and that 
that august person would summarily dispose of 
him, ordering him somewhere out of sight, be- 
low, to work his passage in the sailors' galley, 
perhaps. He would have welcomed the most 
ignominious service to have found now a re- 
spite — to be enabled to escape discovery a little 
longer. But the wished- for contingency had 
not arisen. He faced the inevitable. 

"The man, your Excellency !" 

His excellency looked. He had been scan- 
ning the horizon and his expression was both 
moody and preoccupied. Mr. Heatherbloom 
bent slightly forward; his lids fell to conceal 
a sudden glitter in his eyes; his hand touched 
something hard in his pocket. If his excel- 
lency recognized him — There was one way — 



i86 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

a last mad desperate way to serve, to save 
her. It would be the end-all for him, but 
his life was a very small thing to give to 
her. He did not value it greatly — that 
physical self that had been such an ill servant. 
He gazed at the prince now with veiled expect- 
ancy, his attitude seemingly relaxed, innocent 
of strenuosity. Would the prince's gaze flare 
back with a spark of remembrance? If in that 
tense instant it had done so, then — 

But his excellency regarded Mr. Heather- 
bloom blankly ; his eyes were emotionless. 

"You mean the fellow we ran down ?" The 
prince spoke as if irritated by the intrusion. 

"The same, Excellency 1" The officer stepped 
back. Mr. Heatherbloom did not move. 

"What did you get in our way for?" The 
prince's voice had a metallic ring; he towered, 
harshly arrogant, over his uninvited passenger. 
"Don't you know enough to get out of the 
way?" 

"It appears not, sir." Heatherbloom won- 
dered at the sound of his own voice. It seemed 
to come, small and quiet, from so far off. His 



ir.« . 



THE CRISIS 187 

excellency had not recognized him, but was he 
suspicious ? Maybe nor. No one would be fool 
enough to get deliberately in the way ot the 
fast-steaming Nevski. Small craft were nu- 
merous in the bay and accidents to them would 
happen. There was nothing so out of the ordi- 
nary for a big boat to run down a tiny craft. 
It was somewhat uncommon for any one in the 
wee boat to save himself, truly, but even in this 
feature of the present case the prince experi- 
enced but a mild interest. 

^Who are you?" he said. "A fisherman?" 
'Not exactly," answered Mr. Heatherbloom, 
"though sometimes I crab. I was crabbing 
yesterday." 

As he spoke his gaze swept beyond to not 
far-distant cabin doors and windows. He and 
the prince were standing on the starboard side 
of the boat ; it was this side that had faced the 
island when the young man had gazed down 
upon the yacht from the big sand-hill, and fan- 
cied he had seen — 

^'What am I going to do with you?" The 
prince seemed more out of temper now. "My 



tr 




i88 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

crew are all Russians and I don't want any of 
your — " He stopped; shifting lights played 
ominously in his gaze; a few dissatisfied lines 
on his face deepened. "I didn't ask you to 
come aboard," he ended with an angry gesture. 
"Sorry to intrude!'* Mr. Heatherbloom 
spoke at random. "But I really couldn't help 
it, don't you know. No time to ask permis^ 



sion." 



His excellency frowned. Did he suspect in 
these words an attempt at that insidious Amer- 
ican humor he had often vainly endeavored to 
fathom ? Mr. Heatherbloom gazed at him now 
with seemingly innocent but really very atten- 
tive eyes. 

A superb specimen of over six feet of mas- 
culinity, the prince was picturesquely attired 
in Russian yachting-garb while a Cossack cap 
adorned a visage as bold and romantic as any 
young woman might wish to gaze upon. And 
gazing upon it himself — that rather stunning 
picture the prince presented on his own yacht — 
a sudden chill ran through Mr. Heatherbloom. 
This titled paragon refused by Miss Dalrym- 



THE CRISIS 189 

pie? A feudal lord who made your dapper 
French counts and Hungarian barons appear 
but small fry indeed, by contrast! The light 
of the sea seemed suddenly to dazzle Mr. 
Heatherbloom. A wild thought surged through 
his brain. Betty Dalrymple, bewildering, con- 
fusing, made up of captivating inconsistencies, 
had sometimes been accused by people of a ca- 
pacity for doing the wildest things. Had she 
for excitement — or any other reason— -eloped 
with the prince ? Were they, perhaps, married 
even now ? He dismissed the thought quickly. 
All the circumstances pointed against this the- 
ory ; his original one was — ^must be — correct. 

"Well, now you are here, I suppose I've got 
to keep you." The prince had again spoken. 

"I suppose so," said Mr. Heatherbloom ab- 
sently. He was studying now the near-by 
cabin windows. One, with beautiful lace and 
glimpses of pink beyond, caught his glance. 

"What can you do?" Sharply. 

"Oh, a lot of things!" Had the curtain 
waved ? His heart thumped hard — ^he scarcely 
saw the prince now. 



I90 . A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Not manage a sail-boat, Fm convinced.'* 
He forced himself to turn again, as through a 
mist was aware of his excellency's sneering 
countenance. "J^^g^^g from your recent per- 
formance !" 

"That was hardly a fair test," Mr. Heather- 
bloom replied anyhow. His thoughts were 
keyed to a straining-point; his glance would 
swerve; he strove his best to control it. She 
was there — ^there — Shrouds and stays seemed 
to sing the words. He would have sworn he 
caught the flash of a white wrist. 

"Why not?" Was the prince still examining, 
questioning him ? Again a primal impulse was 
suppressed, though his muscles were like whip- 
cords. He yet compelled himself to endure 
the ordeal. What was the query about ? Ah, he 
remembered. 

"Well, you see, I must have lost my head." 

It was not a bright answer but he did not care ; 

I 

it was the best that occurred. 

The prince strode restlessly away a few 
paces, then returned. "Were you ^ver at sea 
before?" 



%.. 



^(^ 



i(^ 



THE CRISIS 191 

"I once owned a y " Mr. Heatherbloom 

paused — ^with an effort resumed his part and 
a smile somewhat strained: "I once went on 
a cruise on a gentleman's yacht." Some one 
was in the state-room; was overhearing. His 
head hummed; the refrain of the taut lines 
rang louder. 

^What as ? Cabin-boy, cook ?" 

^Why, you see — " The prince certainly did 
not see him — ^he was once more staring away, 
over the dark water — "I acted in a good many 
capacities. Kind of general utility, as it were. 
Doing this, that, and the other!" 

" *The other', I should surmise." Contempt- 
uously. 

Mr. Heatherbloom moved; the curtain had 
moved again. "Where are you going?" he 
asked a little wildly. "You see I might have 
important business on shore." Foolish talk, — 
yet it fitted in as well as anything. 

The prince, for his part, did not at first seem 
to catch the other's words; when he did he 
laughed loudly, sardonically. "That is good; 
excellent! You have 'important business'!' 



J i>> 



192 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Yes; important/' repeated Mr. Heather- 
bloom. "I — " He got no further. His eyes 
met another's at the window, rested a moment 
on a woman's face which then suddenly van- 
ished. But not before he realized that she, too, 
had seen him — seen and recognized. He had 
caught in that fleeting instant, wonder, irony, 
incredulity — s, growing understanding! Then 
he heard a soft laugh — a musical but devilish 
laugh — Sonia Turgeinov's I 



CHAPTER XV 

THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 

MR. HEATHERBLOOM stood as if 
stunned, his face very pale. For the 
instant all his suppressed emotion concentrated 
on this woman — ^his evil genius — ^who had be- 
trayed him before and who would betray him 
again, now. He waited, breathing hard. Why 
did she not appear? Why did not the blow 
fall? He could not understand that interval 
— nothing happening. Was she but playing 
with him? The prince had abruptly turned; 
apparently he had not heard that very low 
laugh. Bored, no doubt, by the interview, he 
had started to walk away, almost at the same 
time Mr. Heatherbloom had caught sight of 
the face at the window. As in a dream Mr. 
Heatherbloom now heard his excellency's 
brusk voice addressing a command to the offi- 

193 



194 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

cer, listened to the latter a moment or two later, 
addressing him. 

"Come along!" The officer's English was 
labored and guttural. 

Mr. Heatherbloom's eyes swung swiftly 
from the near-by door through which he had 
momentarily expected the woman to emerge. 
Involuntarily he would have stepped after the 
vanishing figure of the prince — what to do, he 
knew not, when — 

"Non, non" said the officer, intervening. 
"Hees excellenz dislikes to be — importuned." 
The last word cost the speaker an effort ; to the 
listener it was hardly intelligible, but the offi- 
cer's manner indicated plainly his meaning. 
Mr. Heatherbloom managed to hold himself 
still ; he seemed standing in the center of a vor- 
tex. The prince had by this time gone; the 
woman did not step forth. This lame and im- 
potent conclusion was out of all proportion to 
the seemingly inevitable. He could scarcely 
realize it was he — ^actually he ! — who, after an- 
other pause, followed the officer, with scant in- 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 195 

terest, hardly any at all, to some inferno where 
flames leaped and hissed. 

He could not but be aware of them, although 
the voice telling him that he would remain here, 
make himself useful, and, incidentally, work 
his way among the stokers, sounded very far 
off. He could have exclaimed scoffingly after 
the disappearing officer, not anxious to linger 
any longer than necessary here. Work his 
way, indeed ! How long would he be permitted 
to do so? When would he be again sent for, 
and dealt with — in what manner? 

He shoveled coal feverishly though the 
irony of the task smote him, for in feeding the 
insatiable beds, he was with his own hand help- 
ing to furnish the energy that wafted her, he 
would have served, farther and farther f^om 
the home land. Every additional mile put be- 
tween that shore and the boat, increased the 
prince's sense of power. He was working 
for his excellency and against her. In a 
revulsion of feeling he leaned on his shovel, 
whereupon a besooted giant of the lower re- 



196 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

gions tapped his shoulder. This person — 
foreman of the gang — ^pointed significantly 
to the inactive implement. His brow was low, 
brutish, and he had a fist like a hammer. Mr. 
Heatherbloom lifted the shovel and looked at 
the low brow but, fortunately, he did not act 
on the impulse. It was as if some detaining 
angel reached down into those realms of Pluto 
and, at the critical moment, laid a white hand 
where the big paw had touched him. 

The young man resumed his toil. After all, 
what did it matter? — some one would shovel 
the stuff. That brief revolt had been spas- 
modic, sentimental. Here where the heat was 
almost intolerable and the red tongues sprang 
like forked daggers before dulled eyes, brutal- 
ity and hatred alone seemed to reign. The 
prince might be the prodigal, free-handed gen- 
tleman to his officers ; he was the slave-driver, 
by proxy, to his stokers. He who dominated 
in that place of torment had been an overseer 
from one of the villages the prince owned; 
these men were the descendants of serfs. 

Once or twice Heatherbloom rather incoher- 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 197 

ently tried to engage one or two of them in 
conversation, to* learn where the yacht was go- 
ing — to Southern seas, across the Atlantic?— 
but they only stared at him as if he were some 
strange being quite beyond their ken. So he 
desisted; of course they could not tmderstand 
him, and, of course, they knew nothing he 
wished to know. In this prison a sense of mv)- 
tion and direction was as naught. 

Fortunately Mr. Heatherbloom's muscles 
were in good condition and there was not a 
superfluous ounce on him, but he needed all 
his energies to escape the fist and the boot that 
day, to keep pace with the others. The per- 
spiration poured from his face in sooty rivu- 
lets ; he knew if he gave way what kind of con- 
sideration to expect. He was being tested. 
The foreman's eyes, themselves, seemed full of 
sparks ; there was something tentative, expect- 
ant in their curious gleam as they rested on 
him. Heatherbloom now could hardly keep to 
his feet; his own eyes burned. The flames 
danced as if with a living hatred of him; in a 
semi-stupor he almost forgot the sword, with- 



198 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

out, that swung over him, held but by a thread 
that might be cut any instant. 

He could not have lasted many minutes more 
when relief came; sodden sullen men took 
the places. Heatherbloom staggered out with 
his own herd; he felt the need of food as well 
as rest. He groped his way somewhere — into 
a dark close place; he found black-looking 
bread — or, was it handed to him? He ate, 
threw himself down, thought of her! — ^then 
ceased to think at all. The sword, his com- 
panions or specters no longer existed ior him. 

It may be some spiritual part of him during 
that physical coma, drew from a supermun- 
dane source beatific drafts, for he awoke re- 
freshed, his mind clear, even alert. He gazed 
around; he, alone, moved. His companions 
resembled so many bags of rags cast here and 
there; only the snores, now diminuendo, then 
crescendo, dispelled the illusion. A smoking 
lamp threw a paucity of light and a good deal 
of odor around them. Was it night? The 
shadows played hide-and-seek in comers ; there 
was no sound of the sea. 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 199 

Mr. Heatherbloom moved toward a door. 
His pulses seemed to throb in rhythm with the 
engines whose strong pulsations shook those 
limp unconscious forms. He opened the iron 
door and looked out. Only blackness, relieved 
by a low-power electric light, met his gaze. He 
crept from the place. 

Why did not some one rise up to detain him ? 
Surely he was watched. He experienced an 
uncanny sense of being allowed to proceed just 
so far, when invisible fingers would pounce 
upon him, to hurl him back. The soot still lay 
on his face ; he had seen no bucket and water. 
At the mouth of a tunnel-like aperture, he hesi- 
tated, but still no one sprang in front, or glided 
up from behind to interfere with his progress. 
He went on; a perpendicular iron ladder en- 
abled him to reach an open space on the de- 
serted lower deck. Another ladder led to the 
upper deck. Could he mount it and still escape 
detection ? And in that case — to what end ? 

A bell struck the hour. Nine o'clock! He 
counted the strokes. Much time had, indeed, 
passed since leaving port The yacht, he 



200 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

judged, should be capable of sixteen knots. 
Where were they now ? And where was she — 
in what part of the boat had they confined the 
young girl ? Come what might, he would try 
to ascertain. Creeping softly up the second 
ladder, he peered around. Still he saw no one. 
It was a dark night ; a shadow lay like a blanket 
on the sea. He felt for his revolver — ^they had 
not taken it from him — ^and started to make his 
way cautiously aft, when something he saw 
brought him to an abrupt halt. 

A figure! — b, woman's!— or a young girl's? 
— not far distant, looking over the side. The 
form was barely discernible ; he could but make 
out the vague flutterings of a gown. Was it 
she whom he sought? How could he find out? 
He dared not speak. She moved, and he real- 
ized he could not let her go thus. It might be 
an opportunity — ^no doubt they would suffer 
the young girl the freedom of the deck. It 
would be along the line of a conciliatory policy 
on the prince's part to attempt to reassure her 
as much as possible after the indignities she 
had suffered. The watcher's eyes strained. She 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 201 

was going. He half started forward — ^to risk 
all — to speak. His lips formed a name but did 
not breathe it, for at that moment the swaying 
of the boat had thrown a flicker of light on the 
face and Mr. Heatherbloom drew back, the 
edge of his ardor dulled. 

The woman moved a few steps, this way and 
that; he heard the swish of her skirts. Now 
they almost touched him, standing motionless 
where the shadows were deepest, and at that 
near contact a blind anger swept over him, 
against her — who held him in her power to 
eliminate, when she would — When? What 
was her cue? But, of course, she must have 
spoken already — it was inconceivable other- 
wise. Then why had the prince not acted at 
once, summarily? His excellency was not one 
to hesitate about drastic measures. Mr. Heath- 
erbloom could not solve the riddle at all. He 
could only crouch back farther now and wait. 

Through the gloom he divined a new swift- 
ness in her step, a certain sinuosity of move- 
ment that suddenly melted into immobility. A 
red spot had appeared close by, burned now on 



202 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

blackness; it was followed by another's foot- 
Step. A man, cigar in hand, joined her. 

"Ah, Prince !" she said. 

He muttered something Heatherbloom did 
not catch. 

"What?'* she exclaimed lightly. "No better 
humored?*' 

His answer was eloquent. A flicker of light 
he had moved toward revealed his face, gallant, 
romantic enough in its happier moments, but 
now distinctly unpleasant, with the stamp of 
ancestral Sybarites of the Petersburg court 
shining through the cruelty and intolerance of 
semi-Tartar forbears. 

The woman laughed. How the young man, 
listening, detested that musical gargle! "Pa- 
tience, your Highness!" 

The red spark leaped in the air. "What have 
I been?" 

"That depends on the standpoint — ^yours, or 
hers," she returned in the same tone. 

"It is always the same. She is — " The 
spark described swift angry motions. 

"What would you — ^at first?" she retorted 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 203 

kughingly. "After all that has taken place? 
Mon Dieu! You remember I advised you 
against this madness — I told you in the begin- 
ning it might not all be like Watteau's master- 
piece — the divine embarkation!" 

"Bah!" he returned, as resenting her atti- 
tude. "You were ready enough for your part." 

She shrugged. "-EA bien? Our little Mos- 
cow theatrical company had come to grief. 
New York — cruel monster ! — did not want us. 
C'en est fait de nous! Your Excellency met 
and recognized me as one you had once been 
presented to at a merry party at the Hermitage 
in our beloved city of churches. Would I 
play the bon camarade in a little affair of the 
heart, or should I say une grande passion f 
The honorarium offered was enormous for a 
poor ill-treated player whose very soul was 
ready to sing De Profundis. Did it tempt 
her — forlorn, downhearted — " 

She paused. Close by, the spark brightened, 
dimmed— brightened, dimmed! Mr. Heather- 
bloom bent nearer. "At any rate, she was hon- 
est enough to attempt to dissuade you — ^in 



204 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

vain! And then" — ^her voice changed — ^**since 
you willed it so, she yielded. It sounded wild, 
impossible, the plan you broached. Perhaps 
because it did seem so impossible it won over 
poor Sonia Turgeinov — ^she who had thrown, 
her cap over the windmills. There would be 
excitement, fascination in playing such a 
thrilling part in real life. Were you ever 
himgry. Prince?" She broke off. "What 
an absurd question! What is more to the 
point, tell me it was all well done — ^the device, 
or excuse, of substituting another motor-car 
for her own, the mad flight far into the 
night, down the coast where save for that 
mishap — But I met all difficulties, did I 
not? And, believe me, it was not easy — ^to 
keep your little American inamorata concealed 
until the Nevski could be repaired and meet 
us elsewhere than we had originally planned. 
Dieu merci! I exclaimed last night when the 
little spitfire was brought safely aboard." Mr. 
Heatherbloom breathed quickly. Betty Dal- 
rymple, then, had been with the woman in the 
big automobile — 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 205 

"Why don't you praise me?" the woman 
went on. "Tell me I well earned the douceur f 
Although" — her accents were faintly scoffing — 
"I never dreamed you would not afterward be 
able to — ** Her words leaped into a new chan- 
nel. "What can the child want? Est-ce- 
qu'elle aime un autre f That might explain — " 

An expletive smacking more of Montmartre 
than of the Boulevard Capucines, fell from 
the nobleman's lips. He brushed the ash 
fiercely from his cigar. "It is not so — it won't 
explain anything," he returned violently. 
"Didn't I once have it from her own lips that, 
at least, she was not — " He stopped. "Af c?n 
Dieu! That contingency — " 

Suddenly she again laughed. "Delicious!" 

"What?" 

"Nothing. My own thoughts. By the way, 
what has become of the man we picked up from 
the sail-boat?" 

The prince made a gesture. "He's down 
below — ^among the stokers. Why do you 
ask?" 

"It is natural, I suppose, to take a faint 



tc 



tf 



206 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

interest in a poor fisherman you've almost 
drowned." 

Not I !" Brutally. 

^No?" A smile, enigmatical, played around 
her lips. "How droll r 

"Droll?" 

"Heartless, then. But you great nobles are 
that, a little, eh, mon ami?" 

He shrugged and returned quickly to that 
other more interesting subject. 

"£//^ va m'epouserr he exclaimed violently. 
"I will stake my life on it. She will; she 
must !" 

"Must !" The woman raised her hand. "You 
say that to an American girl?" 

"We're not at the finis yet !" An ugly crisp- 
ness was manifest in his tones. "There are 
ports and priests a-plenty, and this voyage is 
apt to be a long one, unless she consents — " 

"Charming man!" She spoke almost ab- 
sently now. 

"Haven't I anything to offer? Diable! One 
would think I was a beggar, not — am I ill- 
looking, repugnant? Your sex," with a sus- 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES 207 

picion of a sneer, "have not always found me 
so. I have given my heart before, you will 
say! But never as now! For she is a witch, 
like those that come out of the reeds on the 
Volga — ^to steal, alike, the souls of fisherman 
and prince." He paused ; then went on mood- 
ily. "I suppose I should have gone — allowed 
myself to be dismissed as a boy from school. 
*I have played with you; you have amused me; 
you no longer do so. Adieu!' So she would 
have said to me, if not in words, by implica- 
tion. No, merci," he broke off angrily. "Tant 
s'en faut! I, too, shall have something to say 
— ^and soon — ^to-night — !" 

He made a swift gesture, threw his cigar 
into the sea and walked off. 

"How tiresome!" But the words fell from 
the woman's lips uneasily. She stretched her 
lithe form and looked up into the night. Then 
she, too, disappeared. Mr. Heatherbloom 
stood motionless. She knew who he was and 
yet she had not revealed his secret to the 
prince. Because she deemed him but a pawn, 
paltry, inconsequential? Because she wished 



2o8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

to save the hot-headed nobleman from com- 
mitting a deed of violence — a crime, even — ^if 
he should learn? 

The reason mattered little. In Mr. Heath- 
erbloom's mind his excellency's last words- 
all they portended — excluded now considera- 
tion of all else. He gazed imcertainly in the 
direction the nobleman had gone; suddenly 
started to follow, stealthily, cautiously, when 
another person approached. Mr. Heather- 
bloom would have drawn back, but it was too 
late — ^he was seen. His absence from the sto- 
kers' quarters had been discovered; after 
searching for him below and not finding him, 
the giant foreman had come up here to look 
around. He was swinging his long arms and 
muttering angrily when he caught sight of his 
delinquent helper. The man uttered a low 
hoarse sound that augured ill for Mr. Heath- 
erbloom. The latter knew what he had to 
expect — ^that no mercy would be shown him. 
He stepped swiftly backward, at the same time 
looking about for something with which to 
defend himself. 



CHAPTER XVI 



THE DESPOT 



PRINCE BORIS, upon leaving Sonia Tur* 
geinov, ascended to the officers' deck. 
For some moments he paced the narrow con- 
fines between the life-boats, then stepped into 
the wheel-house. 

"How is she headed?" 

An officer standing near the man at the 
helm, answered in French. 

"This should bring us to" — ^the nobleman 
mentioned a group of islands — "by to-morrow 
night?" 

"Hardly, Excellency." 

The prince stared moodily. "Have you 
sighted any other vessels?" 

"One or two sailing-craft that have paid no 
attention to us. The only boat that seemed 
interested since we left port was the little 
naphtha." 

209 



210 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

The nobleman stood as if he had not heard 
this last remark. About to move away, he 
suddenly lifted his head and listened. "What 
was that?*' he said sharply. 

"What, your Highness ?" 

"I thought I heard a sound like a cry." 

"I heard nothing, Excellency. No doubt it 
was but the wind — it is loud here." 

"No doubt." A moment the nobleman con- 
tinued to listen, then his attention relaxed. 

"Shall I come to your excellency later for 
orders?" said the officer as the prince made 
as if to turn away. 

"It will not be necessary. If I have any I 
can 'phone from the cabin — I do not wish to 
be disturbed," he added and left. 

"His excellency seems in rather an odd 
mood to-night," the officer, gazing after, mut- 
tered. "Nothing would surprise me — even if 
he commanded us to head for the pole next. 
Eh, Fedor?" The man at the helm made 
answer, moving the spokes mechanically. Nor' 
west, or sou' east — it was all one to him. 

Prince Boris walked back; before a little 



THE DESPOT 211 

cabin that stood out like an afterthought, he 
again paused. 

Click J click! The wireless! His excellency, 
stepping nearer, peered through a window in 
upon the operator, a slender young man — 
French. A message was being received. Who 
were they that thus dared span space to reach 
out toward him? Ei! ei! **The devil has long 
arms." He recalled this saying of the Siberian 
priests and the mad Cossack answer : "There- 
fore let us ride fast!" The swaying of the 
yacht was like the rhythmic motion of his Arab 
through the long grass beyond the Dnieper, 
in that wild land where conventionality and 
laws were as naught. 

He saw the operator now lean forward to 
write. The apparatus, which had become silent 
again, spoke; the words came now fast, then 
slow. Flame of flames! What an instru- 
ment that harnessed the sparks, chased destiny 
Itself with them! They crackled like whips. 
The operator threw down his pen. 

"Excellency!" He almost ran into the tall 
motionless figure. "Pardon! A message — 



212 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

they want to establish communication with the 
Nevski — ^to learn if we picked up a man 
from — ^" 

"Have I not told you to receive all mes- 
sages but to establish communication with no 
one? MonDieu! If I thought — " 

"Your excellency can depend upon me," 
Francois protested. "Did not my father serve 
your illustrious mother, the Princess Alix, all 
his life at her palace at Biarritz? Did not — "• 

The prince made a gesture. "I can depend 
upon you because it is to your advantage to 
serve me well," he said dryly. "Also, because 
if you didn't — " He left the sentence un- 
finished but Francois understood ; in that part 
of the Czar's kingdom where the prince came 
from, life was held cheap. Besides, the lad 
had heard tales from his father — a garrulous 
Gascon — of his excellency's temper — ^those mad 
outbursts even when a child. There was a trace 
of the fierce, or half-insane temperament of 
the great Ivan in the uncontrollable Strogareflf 
line, so the story went. Francois returned to 
hs8 instrument; his excellency's look swept 



THE DESPOT 213 

beyond. He heard now only the sound of the 
sea — restless, in unending tumult. The wind 
blew colder and he went below. 

But not to rest! He was in no mood for 
that. What then? He hesitated, at war with 
himself. "Patience! patience!" What fool 
advice from Sonia Turgeinov! He helped 
himself liberally from a decanter on a Louis 
Quinze sideboard in the beautiful salle d 
^manger. The soft lights revealed him, and 
him only, a solitary figure in that luxurious 
place — -master of all he surveyed but not mas- 
ter of his own thoughts. He could order his 
men, but he could not order that invisible host. 
They made hjm their servant. He took a few 
steps back and forth ^ then suddenly encoun- 
tered his own image reflected in a mirror. 

"Boris, the superb"; "a tartar toreador of 
hearts"; "Prince of roubles and kopecs"! 
So they had jestingly called him in his own 
warm-cold capital of the north, or in that 
merry-holy city of four hundred churches. 
His glance now swept toward a "distant door. 
"Faint heart ne'er won — " 



214 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Had he a faint heart? In the past — ^nol 
Why, then, now? The passionate lines of the 
poets sang in his ears — rhythms to the "little 
dove", the "peerless white flower" ! He passed 
a big hand across his brow. His heart-beats 
were like the galloping hoofs of a horse, bear- 
ing him whither? Gold of her hair, violet of 
her eyes! Whither? The raving mad poets! 
Wine seemed running in his blood; he moved 
toward the distant door. 

It was locked — of course ! For the moment 
he had forgotten. Thrusting his hand into 
his pocket, he drew out a key and unsteadily 
fitted it. But before turning it he stood an 
instant listening. No sound! Should he wait 
until the morrow? Prudence dictated that 
course; precipitancy, however, drove him on. 
Now, as well as ever ! Better have an under- 
standing! She would have to accede to his 
plans, anyway — and the sooner, the better. 
He had burned his bridges ; there was no draw- 
ing back now — 

He turned slowly the knob, applied a sudden 
pressure to the door and entered. 



THE DESPOT 215 

* 

A girl looked up and saw him. It was a 
superbly decorated salon he had invaded. Soft- 
hued rugs were on the floor and draperies of 
cloth of gold veiled the shadows. Betty Dal- 
rymple had been standing at a window, gazing 
out at night — only night — or the white glim- 
mer from an electric light that frosting the 
rail, made the dark darker. She appeared 
neither surprised nor perturbed at the ap- 
pearance of the nobleman — doubtlessly she had 
been expecting that intrusion. He stopped 
short, his dark eyes gleaming. It was enough 
for the moment just to look at her. Place and 
circumstance seemed forgotten; the spirit of 
an old ancestor— K>ne of the great khans — 
looked out in his gaze. Passion and anger al- 
ternated on his features; when she regarded 
him like that he longed to crush her to him ; in- 
stead, now, he continued to stand motionless. 

"Pardon me," he could say it with a faint 
smile. Then threw out a hand. "Ah, you are 
beautiful!" All that was oriental in him 
seemed to vibrate in the words. 

Betty Dalrymple's answer was calculated to 



21 6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

dispel illusion and glamour. "Don't you think 

we can dispense with superfluous words?*' 
Her voice was as ice. "Under the circum- 
stances," she added, full mistress of herself. 

His glance wavered, again concentrated on 
her, slender, warm-hued as an houri in the 
ivory and gold palace of one of the old khans 
— ^but an houri with disconcerting straightness 
of gaze, and crisp matter-of-fact directness 
of utterance. "You '^ are cruel; you have al- 
ways been," he said. "I offer you all — every- 
thing — ^my life, and you — " 

"More superfluous words," said Betty Dal- 
rymple in the same tone, the flash of her eyes 
meeting the darkening gleam of his. "Put me 
ashore, and as soon as may be. This farce 
has gone far enough." 

Tarce?" he repeated. 

^You have only succeeded in making your- 
self absurd and in placing me in a ridiculous, 
position. Put me ashore and — " 

"Ask of me the possible — ^the humanly pos- 
sible — " He moved slightly nearer ; her figure 
swayed from him. 



"] 



THE DESPOT 217 

"You are mad — ^mad — " 

"Granted!" he said. "A Russian in love is 
always a madman. But it was you who — ** 

"Don't !" she returned. "It is like a play—" 
The red lips curved. 

He looked at them and breathed harder. 
Her words kindled anew the flame in his 
breast. "A play? That is what it has been 
for you. A mild comedy of flirtation!" The 
girl flushed hotly. "Deny it if you can — that 
you didn't flirt, as you Americans call it, out- 
rageously." 

An instant Betty Dalrymple bit her lip but 
she returned his gaze steadily enough. "The 
adjective is somewhat strong. Perhaps I 
might have done what you say, a little bit — 
for which," with an accent of self-scorn, "I 
am sorry, as I have already told you." 

He brought together his hands. "Was it 
just a 'little bit* when at Homburg you danced 
with me nearly every time at the grand 
duchess' ball? Sapristi! I have not forgotten. 
Was it only a 'little bit' when you let me ride 
with you at Pau — ^those wild steeplechases! 



2i8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

— or permitted me to follow you to Madrid, 
Nice, elsewhere ? — wherever caprice took you?" 

"I asked you not to^" 

"But with a sparkle in your eyes — z chal- 
lenge—" 

"I knew you for a nobleman ; I thought you 
a gentleman," said Betty Dalrymple spirit- 
edly. 

Prince Boris made a savage gesture. "You 
thought—" He broke off. "I will tell you 
what you thought: That after amusing your- 
self with me you could say, 'Va-t-en!' with a 
wave of the hand. As if I were a clod like 
those we once had under us! American girls 
would make serfs of their admirers. Their 
men," contemptuously, "are fools where their 
women are concerned. You dismiss them; 
they walk away meekly. Another comes. 
Voila!" He snapped his fingers. "The game 
goes on." 

A spark appeared in her eyes. "Don't you 
think you are slightly insulting?" she asked in 
a low tense tone. 

"Is it not the truth? And more" — ^with 



THE DESPOT 219 

a harsh laugh — "I am even told that in your 
wonderful country the rejected suitor — mon 
Dieu! — often acts as best man at the wedding 
— ^that the body-guard on the holy occasion 
may be composed of a sad but sentimental 
phalanx from the army of the refused. But 
with us Russians these matters are different. 
We can not thus lightly control affairs of the 
heart; they control us, and — ^those who flirt, 
as you call it, must pay. The code of our- 
honor demands it — " 

"Your honor?" It was Betty Dalrymple 
who laughed now. 

"You find that — ^me — very diverting?" slow- 
ly. "But you will learn this is no jest." 

She disdained to answer and started toward 
a side door. 

"No," he said, stepping between her and the 
threshold. 

"Be good enough !" Miss Dalrymple's voice 
sounded imperiously; her eyes flashed. 

"One moment!" He was fast losing self- 
control. "You hold yourself from me — refuse 
to listen to me. Why ? Do you know what I 



220 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

think?" Vehemently. The words of Sonia 
Turgeinov — "Est ce qu'elle aime un autre?" 
— ^flamed through his mind. "That there is 
some one else; that there always was. And 
that is the reason you were so gay — so very 
^ay. You sought to forget — '' 

A change came over Betty Dalrymple's face ; 
she seemed to grow whiter — to become like 
ice — 

"You let me think there wasn't any one ; but 
there was. That story of some one out west? 
— ^you laughed it away as idle gossip. And I 
believed you then — ^but not now. Who is he 
— ^this American ?" With a half-sneer. 

"There is no one! — there never has been!" 
said the girl with sudden passion, almost 
wildly. "I told you the truth." 

"Ah," said Prince Boris. "You ^peak with 
feeling. When a woman denies in a voice like 
that—" 

"Let me by!" The violet eyes were black 
now. 

"Not yet!" He studied her — ^the cheeks 
aflame like roses. "He shall never have you. 



THE DESPOT 221 

that some one — I will meet him and kill him 
first — ^I swear it — " 

"Let me by I" 

"Carissima! Your eyes are like stars — ^the 
stars that look down on one alone on the wild 
steppe. Your lips are red flowers — ^poppies to 
lure to destruction. They are cruel, but the 
more beautiful — " 

He suddenly reached out, took her in his 
arms. 

The cry on her lips was stifled as his sought 
and almost touched them. At the same mo- 
ment the door of the cabin, by which the prince 
had entered, was abruptly thrown open. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 

HIS excellency turned. The intruder's 
eyes were bloodshot from the glare 
of the furnaces, his face black, unrecognizable, 
from the soot. "What the dev — " began the 
nobleman, as if doubting the evidence of his 
senses. 

He must have relaxed his hold, for the girl 
tore herself loose. She did not pause, but run- 
ning swiftly to the inner door she had just 
turned toward, she hastily closed and locked 
it behind her. As she disappeared Mr. Heath- 
erbloom stopped an instant to gaze after her; 
but the prince, with sagging jaw and amaze- 
ment in his eyes, continued to regard only him. 

"Who the — " he began again furiously. 

The intruder's reply was a silent one. His 
excellency would have stepped back but it was 
too late. Mr. Heatherbloom's fist struck him 

222 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 223 

fairly on the forehead. Behind the blow was 
the full impetus of the lithe form fairly 
launched across the spacious cabin. The prince 
went down, striking hard. 

But he was up in a moment and, mad with 
rage, made a rush. The other, quick, agile, 
evaded him. The prince's muscles had lost 
some of their hardness from high living and 
he was, moreover, unversed in the great An- 
glo-American pastime. He strove to seize his 
aggressor, to strangle him, but his fingers failed 
to grip what they sought. At the same time 
Mr. Heatherbloom's arms shot up, down and 
around, with marvelous precision, seeking and 
finding the vulnerable spots. The prince soon 
realized he was being badly punished and the 
knowledge did not serve to improve his temper. 
Had he only been able to get hold of his oppo- 
nent he could have crushed him with his supe- 
rior weight. A stationary table, however, in 
the center of the room assisted Mr. Heather- 
bloom in eluding the wild dashes, the while 
he continued to lunge and dodge in a most 
businesslike manner. 



224 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Panting, the prince had, at length, to pause. 
His face revealed several marks of the con- 
test and the sight did not seem displeasing to 
Mr. Heatherbloom. A quiet smile strained 
his lips ; a cold satisfaction shone in the blood- 
shot eyes. 

"Come on," he said, stepping a little from 
the table. 

The prince did not respond to the invitation. 
His dazed mind was working now. Through 
bruised lids he regarded the soot-masked in- 
truder — a nihilist, no doubt! His excellency 
had had one or two experiences with members 
of secret societies in the past. There was a 
nest of them in New Jersey. Though how one 
of them could have managed to get aboard the 
Nevski, he had no time just then to figure 
out. The i^obleman looked over his shoulder 
toward a press-button. 

"Come on!" repeated Mr. Heatherbloom 
softly. 

The nobleman sprang, instead, the other 
way, but he did not reach what he sought. 
Mr. Heatherbloom's arm described an arc; the 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 225 

application was made with expert skill and 
effectiveness. His excellency swayed, relaxed, 
and, this time, remained where he fell. Mr. 
Heatherbloom locked the door leading into the 
dining salle — the other, opening upon the deck, 
he had already tried and found fastened — ^and 
drew closer the draperies before the windows. 
Then returning to the prince, he prodded gent- 
ly the prostrate figure. 

"Get up !" His excellency moved, then stag- 
gered with difficulty to his feet and gazed 
around. "You'll be able to think all right in a 
moment," said Heatherbloom. "Sit down. 
Only," in crisp tones, "I wouldn't move from 
the chair if I were you. Because — " His ex- 
cellency understood ; something bright gleamed 
close. 

"Are you going to murder me ?" he breathed 
hoarsely. His excellency's cousin — sl grand 
duke — ^had been assassinated in Russia. 

"I wouldn't call it that." The prince made 
a movement. "Sit still." The cold object 
pressed against the nobleman's temples. "If 
ever a scoundrel deserved death, it is you." 



226 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Plain talk! The prince could scarcely be- 

m 

lieve he heard aright ; yet the thrill of that icy- 
touch on his forehead was real. His dark face 
showed growing pallor. One may be brave 
— heroic even, but one does not like to die like 
a dog, to be struck down by a miserable un- 
clean terrorist — ^hardly, from his standpoint, 
a human being — unfortunately, however, some- 
thing that must be dealt with — ^not at first, 
tinder these circumstances, with force — but 
afterward! Ah, then? The prince's eyes 
seemed to grow smaller, to gleam with Tartar 
cunning. 

What do yott want ?" he said. 

^Several things." Mr. Heatherbloom's own 
eyes were keen as darts. "First, you will give 
orders that the Nevski is to change her course 
— to head for the nearest American port." 

Impossible !" the prince exclaimed violently. 

^On the contrary, it is quite possible. We 
have the fuel, as I can testify." 

His excellency's thoughts ran riot; it was 
difficult to collect them, with that aching head. 
The fellow must be crazy; people of his class 



<r 



€ti 



«! 



Hi 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 227 

usually are, more or less, though they gen- 
erally displayed a certain method in their mad- 
ness, while this one — 

"I must remind your excellency that time 
IS of every importance to me," murmured Mr. 
Heatherbloom. "Hence, you will do what I 
ask, at once, or — " 

"Very well." His excellency spoke quickly 
— ^too quickly. "I'll give the order." And, 
rising, he started toward the door. 

"Stop!" 

The prince did. Venom and apprehension 
mingled in his look. Mr. Heatherbloom made 
a gesture. "You will give the order; but here 
— and as I direct." His voice was cold as the 
gleaming barrel. "That 'phone," indicating 
one on the wall, "connects with the bridge, of 
course. Don't deny. It will be useless." 

His excellency didn't deny; he had a sus- 
picion of what was coming. 

"You will call up the officer in command 
on the bridge and give him the order to make 
at once for the nearest American port. You 
will ask him how far it is and how soon we 



228 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

can get there ? Beyond that, you will say noth- 
ing, make no explanations, or utter a single 
superfluous word." 

"Very well." The prince, seemingly ac- 
quiescent, but with a dangerous glitter in his 
eyes, moved toward the telephone. 

"One moment!" 

The nobleman stopped with his hand near 
a receiver. His fingers trembled. 

"You will speak in French. A syllable of 
Russian, just one, and — ^" Mr. Heather- 
bloom's expression left no doubt as to his 
meaning. 

"Dog!" His excellency's swollen face be- 
came the hue of paper. An instant he seemed 
about to spring — then managed to control him- 
self. "But why should I not speak in Russian? 
My officers know no French." 

"A lie! Nearly all Russian officers speak 
French. I happen to know yours do." A 
newspaper article had made the statement and 
he did not doubt it. "Anyhow, you give the 
order in French and we'll see what happens." 

The blood surged in the nobleman's face. 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 229 

The fierce desire to avenge himself at once 
on this man who threw the lie at him — 
august, illustrious — ^mingled, however, with yet 
another feeling — one of bewilderment The 
fellow had spoken these last words in French, 
and choice French at that. His accents had all 
the elegance of the Faubourg Saint Germain. 

"Quick!" The decision in the intruder's 
manner was unmistakable. "I have wasted all 
the time I intend to. My finger trembles on 
the trigger." 

The prince, perforce, was quick. The tele- 
phone of foreign design, had two receivers. 
His excellency took one. Mr. Heatherbloom 
reached for the other and held it to his ear 
with his left hand. His right, holding the 
weapon, was behind the prince, as the latter 
poignantly realized. Ill-suppressed rage made 
his excellency's tones now slightly wavering: 
'Are you there, M. le Capitaine?" 
'Steady !" Mr. Heatherbloom whispered 
wamingly in his excellency's free ear, empha- 
sizing the caution with a significant pressure 
from his right hand. At the same time he 



ti 



it{ 



230 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

caught the answer from afar — ^a deferential 
voice : 

''Oui, Excellence." There was, fortunately, 
on the wires a singing sound that would serve 
to drown evidences of emotion in the noble- 
man's tone. "Excellence wishes to speak with 
me?" went on the distant voice. 

"I do." The prince breathed fast — ^paused. 
"You will change the boat's course, and — " 
He spoke with difficulty. A warmer breath 
fanned his cheek; he felt a sensation like ice 
on the back of his neck. "Make for the near- 
est American port. How far is it?" Mr. 
Heatherbloom's prompting whisper was audi- 
ble only to his excellency. 

"Five hours," came over the wire. 

Mr. Heatherbloom experienced a thrill of 
satisfaction. They were nearer the coast than 
he had supposed. He knew the yacht had 
been taking a southerly course; he had con- 
sidered that when the bold idea came to act 
as he was doing. Possibly the prince had been 
driven out of the last port by the publicity 
attendant upon Mr. Heatherbloom's presence 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 231 

there, before certain needed repairs had been 
completed. These, Mr. Heatherbloom now 
surmised, it was his excellency's intention to 
have attended to in some island harbor before 
proceeding with a longer voyage. 

Only five hours! 

"Grood-by!" now burst from the nobleman 
so violently that Mr. Heatherbloom's momen- 
tary exultation changed to a feeling of appre- 
hension. But M. le Capitaine had evidently 
become accustomed to occasional explosive 
moments from his august patron. He con- 
cerned himself only with the command, not 
the manner in which it was given. 

"Eh? Mon Dieu! Do I hear your excel- 
lency aright ?" His accents expressed surprise, 
but not of an immoderate nature. He, no 
doubt, received many arbitrary and unexpected 
orders when his excellency went a-cruising. 

"Repeat the order." Heatherbloom's whis- 
per seemed fairly to sting the nobleman's dis- 
engaged ear. 

The latter did repeat — savagely — jerkily, 
but the humming wires tempered the tones. 



232 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

M. le Capitaine understood fully; he said as 
much; his excellency should be obeyed — Mr. 
Heatherbloom pushed the nobleman's head 
abruptly aside, covering the mouthpiece with 
his hand. Perhaps he divined that irresistible 
malediction about to fall from his excellency's 
lips. 

"Hang it up," he said. 

The nobleman's breath was labored but he 
placed his receiver where it belonged; Mr. 
Heatherbloom did likewise. Both now stepped 
back. Upon the prince's brow stood drops of 
perspiration. The yacht had already slowed 
up and was turning. His excellency listened. 

"May I ask how much longer you are de- 
sirous of my company here?" 

"Oh, yes ; you may ask." 

The boat had begun to quiver again; she 
was going at full speed once more. Only now 
she headed directly for the land Mr. Heather- 
bloom wished to see. Five hours to an Amer- 
ican port ! Then ? He glanced toward the door 
through which the girl had disappeared. Since 
that moment he had caught no sound from 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 233 

her. Had she heard, did she know anything 
of what was happening — ^that the yacht was 
now turned homeward? He dared not linger 
on the thought. The prince was watching him 
with eyes that seemed to dilate and contract 
A moment's carelessness, the briefest cessation 
of watchfulness would be at once seized upon 
by his excellency, enabling him to shift the 
advantage. The young man met that expect- 
ant gleam. 

"Sorry to seem officious, but if your excel- 
lency will sit down once more? Not here — 
over there!" Indicating a stationary arm-chair 
before a desk in a recess of the room. 

The prince obeyed; he had no alternative. 
The fellow must, of course, be a madman, the 
prince reiterated in his own mind unless — 

"I told your excellency I had no wish for a 
long sea voyage." A mocking voice now made 
itself heard. 

The nobleman started, and looked closer; a 
mist seemed to fall from before his gaze. He 
recognized the fellow now — ^the man they had 
run down. The shock of that terrible expe- 



234 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 
rience, the strain of the disaster, had turned 

« 

the fellow's brain. That would explain every- 
thing — this extraordinary occurrence. There 
was nothing to do but to humor him for the 
moment, though it was awkward — devilish ! — 
or might soon be! — if this game should be 
continued much longer. 

Mr. Heatherbloom glided silently toward 
the hangings near the alcove. What now ? — ^the 
prince asked with his eyes. Mr. Heatherbloom 
imloosened from a brass holder a silk cord as 
thick as his thumb. 

"If your excellency will permit me — " He 
stepped to the prince's side. 

That person regarded the cord, strong as 
hemp. 

^What do you mean?" burst from him. 

It is quite apparent." 

An oath escaped the prince's throat ; regard- 
less of consequences, he sprang to his feet 
"Never!" 

A desperate determination gleamed in his 
eyes. This crowning outrage! He, a noble- 
man ! — ^to suffer himself to be bound ignomin- 



i(^ 



iii 



THE PRINCE IS PUZZLED 235 

lously by some low polisson of a raffish mush- 
room country! It was inconceivable, "/o- 
mctisr he repeated. 

"Ah, well!" said Mr. Heatherbloom resign- 
edly. "Nevertheless, I shall make the attempt 
to do what I propose, and if you resist — " 

"You will assassinate me?" stammered the 
nobleman. 

"We won't discuss how the law might char- 
acterize the act. Only," the words came quick- 
ly, "don't waste vain hopes that I won't as- 
sassinate you, if it is necessary. I never waste 
powder, either — can clip a coin every time. 
One of my few accomplishments." Enigmat- 
ically. "And" — as the prince hesitated one 
breathless second — "I can get you straight, 
first shot, surej." 

His excellency believed him. He had heard 
how in this bizarre America a single man some- 
times "held up" an entire train out west and 
had his own sweet way with engineer, con- 
ductor and passengers. This madman, on the 
slightest provocation now, was evidently pre- 
pared to emulate that extraordinary and unde- 



236 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

sirable type. What might he not do, or at- 
tempt to do? The nobleman's figure relaxed 
slightly, his lips twitched. Then he sank back 
once more into the strong solid chair at the 
desk. 

"Good," said Mr. Heatherbloom. A cold 
smile like a faint ripple on a mountain lake 
swept his Ups. "Now we shall get on faster." 



CHAPTER XVIII 



THE COUP 



MR. HEATHERBLOOM, with fingers 
deft as a sailor's, secured the prince. 
The single silken band did not suffice; other 
cords, diverted from the ornamental to a like 
practical purpose, were wound around and 
around his excellency's legs and arms, holding 
him so tightly to the chair he could scarcely 
move. Having completed this task, Mr. 
Heatherbloom next, with vandal hands, whip- 
ped from the wall a bit of priceless embroidery, 

threw it over the nobleman's head and, in spite 
of sundry frenzied objections, effectually 
gagged him. Then drawing the heavy cur- 
tains so that they almost concealed the bound 
figure in the dim recess, the young man stepped 
once more out into the salon. 
How still it suddenly seemed! His glance 

237 



238 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

swept toward the door through which the 
young girl had vanished. Why had he heard 
no sound from her? Why did she not appear 
now? She must have caught something of 
what had been going on. He went swiftly to 
the door. 

^'Miss Dalrymple!" 

No answer. He rapped again — ^louder — 
then tried the door. It resisted ; he shook it. 

"Betty!" Yes; he called her that in the 
alarm and excitement of the moment. "It's — 
it's all right. Open the door." 

Again that hush -7- nothing more. Mr. 
Heatherbloom pulled rather wildly at the lock 
of hair over his brow; then a sudden frenzy 
seemed to seize him. He launched himself 
forward and struck fairly with his shoulder — 
once — ^twice. The door, at length, yielded with 
a crash. He rushed in — fell to his knees. 

"Betty! Oh, Betty!" For the moment he 
stared helplessly at the motionless form on the 
floor, then, lifting the girl in his arms, he laid 
her on a couch. One little wliite hand swung 
limp; he seized it with grimy fingers. It was 



THE COUP 239 

oddly cold, and a shiver went over him. He 
felt for her pulse — ^her heart — at first caught no 
answering throb, for his own heart was beat- 
ing so wildly. The world seemed to swim- 
then he straightened. The filmy dress, not so 
white now in spots, had fluttered beneath her 
throat. He gazed rapturously. 

"Itll be all right," he said again. "Dar- 
ling!" 

He could say it now, when she couldn't 
hear. "Darling! Darling!" he repeated. It 
constituted his vocabulary of terms of endear- 
ment. He felt the need of no other. She lay 
like a lily. He saw nothing anomalous in 
certain stains of soot, even on the wonderful 
face where his had unconsciously touched it 
when he had raised her and strained her to him 
one mad instant in his arms. In fact, he did not 
see those stains; his eyes were closed to such 
details — and the crimson marks, too, on her 
gown! His knuckles were bleeding; he was 
unaware of it. He was not, outwardly, a very 
presentable adorer but he became suddenly 
a most daring one. His grimy hand touched 



240 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

the shining hair, hal f -unbound ; he raised one 
of the marvelous tresses — ^his hungry lips 
swept it lightly — or did he but breathe a divine 
fragrance? By some inner process his spirit 
seemed to have come that instant very near 
to hers. He forgot where he was; time and 
space were annihilated. 

He was brought abruptly back to the living 
present by a sudden knock at the door with- 
out, which he had locked after entering that 
way from the deck. Mr. Heatherbloom lis- 
tened; the person, whoever he was, on re- 
ceiving no response, soon went away. Had 
they discovered what had happened to the 
foreman of the stokers whom Heatherbloom 
had struck down with a heavy iron belaying- 
pin? The man had attacked him with mur- 
derous intent. In defending himself, Heath- 
erbloom believed he had killed the fellow. The 
chance blow he had delivered with the formid- 
able weapon had been one of desperation and 
despair. It had been more than a question of 
his life or the other's. Her fate had been 
involved in that critical moment. He had 



THE COUP 241 

dragged the unconscious figure to the shad- 
ows behind a life-boat. They would not be 
likely to stumble across the incriminating evi- 
dence while it was dark. Nor was it likely 
that the foreman's absence below would cause 
the men to look for him. The overworked 
stokers would be but too pleased to escape, for 
a spell, their tyrannous master. 

Mr. Heatherbloom, standing near the thresh- 
old of the dressing-room, glanced now toward 
the little French clock without. Over four 
hours yet to port! How slowly time went. 
He turned out all the lights, save one shaded 
lamp of low candle-power in the cabin; then 
he did the same in the room where the girl 
was. No one must peer in on him from un- 
expected places. He looked up, and saw that 
the skylights were covered with canvas. Mr. 
Heatherbloom remained in the salon ; he needed 
to continue master of his thoughts. In the 
dressing-room he had just now forgotten him- 
self. That would not do; he must concentrate 
all his faculties, every energy, to bringing this 
coup, bom on the inspiration of the moment, 



242 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

to a successful conclusion. Desperate as his 
plan was, he believed now he would win out. 
By the vibrations he knew the boat was still 
steaming full speed on her new course. The 
conditions were all favorable. They would 
reach port before dawn; at break of day the 
health officers would come aboard. And after 
that— 

The telephone suddenly rang. Should he 
answer that imperious summons? Perhaps the 
man who had just knocked at the door had been 
one of the officers, or the captain himself, come 
in person to speak with his excellency about the 
unexpected change in the boat's course, or some 
technical question or difficulty that might have 
arisen in consequence thereof. 

He looked toward the recess; between the 
curtains he caught sight of the prince's eyes 
and in the dim light he fancied they shone 
with sudden hope — expectancy. The noble- 
man must have heard the crashing of the door 
to the dressing-room. What he had thought 
was of no moment. A viper ish fervor replaced 



THE COUP 243 

that other brief expression in his excellency's 
gaze. 

Once more that metallic call — ^harsh, loud, 
as not to be denied ! Mr. Heatherbloom made 
up his mind; perhaps all depended on his de- 
cision ; he would answer. Stepping across the 
salon, he took down the receivers. The sing- 
ing on the wires had been pronounced; he 
could imitate the prince's autocratic tones, and 
the person at the other end would not dis- 
cover, in all likelihood, the deception. 

"Well?" said Mr. Heatherbloom loudly, 
in French. "What do you want? Haven't I 
given orders not to be—" 

His voice died away ; he nearly dropped the 
receivers. A woman answered. Moreover, 
the wires did not seem to "sing" so much now. 
Sonia Turgeinov's tones were transmitted in 
all their intrinsic, flute-like lucidity. 

"What has happened, your Excellency?" she 
asked anxiously. 

"Happened?" the young man managed to 
say. "Nothing." 



244 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Then why has the yacht's course been 
changed? I can tell by the stars from my 
cabin window that we are not headed at all in 
the same direction we were going — '* 

He tried to speak unconcernedly: "Just 
changed for a short time on account of some 
reefs and the currents ! Go to sleep," he com- 
manded, "and leave the problems of navigation 
to others." 

"Sleep? Mon Dieu! If I only could—" 

Mr. Heatherbloom dared talk no more, so 
rang off. The prince might have been capable 
of such bruskness. Sonia Turgeinov had not 
seemed to suspect anything wrong; she had 
merely been inquisitive, and had taken it for 
granted the nobleman was at the other end of 
the wire. Mr. Heatherbloom strode restlessly 
to and fro. Seconds went by — ^minutes. He 
counted the tickings of the clock — ^suddenly 
wheeled sharply. 

The young girl stood in the doorway — ^he 
had heard and now saw her. She came for- 
ward quickly, though uncertainly; in the dim 



THE COUP 245 

light she looked like a shadow. He drew in 
his breath. 

"Miss — *' he began, then stopped. 

Her gaze rested on him, almost indistin- 
guishable on the other side of the salon. 

"What does it mean ? Who are you?" She 
spoke intrepidly enough but he saw her slender 
form sway. 

Who was he? About to explain in a rush 
of words, Mr. Heatherbloom hesitated. To 
her he had been, of course, but a conspira- 
tor of the Russian woman in the affair. Miss 
Van Rolsen had deemed him culpable; the 
detective had been sure of it. Would Miss 
Dalrymple think more leniently of him than 
mere tmprejudiced people, those who knew 
less of him than she? His very presence on 
the yacht, although somewhat inexplicably 
complicated in recent occurrences, was per se 
a primal damning circumstance. But she 
spared him the necessity of answering. She 
divined now from his blackened features what 
his position on the yacht must be. He was 
only a poor stoker, but — 



<<" 



if 



246 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"You are a brave fellow," cried Betty Dal- 
rymple, "and I'll not forget it -You inter- 
fered — I remember — " 

"A brave fellow !" It was well he had not 
betrayed himself. Let her think that of him, 
for the moment. A poignant mockery lent 
pain to the thrill of her words. 

You rushed in, struck him. What then?" 
He won't play the bully and scoundrel 
again for some time !" burst from Mr. Heath- 
erbloom. His tones were impetuous; once 
more he seemed to see what he had seen during 
those last moments on the deck — ^when he had 
been unable to restrain himself longer — ^and 
had yielded to a single hot-blooded impulse. 
"The big brute !" he muttered. 

She seemed to regard him in slight surprise. 
"Where is he? What has become of him?" 

"He is safe—" 

"You mean you conquered him, beat him — 
you ?" Her voice thrilled. 

"You bet I did," said Mr. Heatherbloom 
with the least evidence of incoherency. Her 
words had been verbal champagne to him. "I 



THE COUP 247 

gave him the dandiest best licking — " He 
stopped. Perhaps he realized that his explana- 
tion was beginning to seem slightly tinged with 
too great evidence of personal satisfaction if 
not boastfulness. "You see I had a gun," he 
murmured rather apologetically. 

"But," said the girl, coming nearer, "I don't 
understand." 

He started to meet that advance, then backed 
away a little. "I've got him safe, where he 
can't move, or bother you any more." Mr. 
Heatherbloom glanced over his shoulder; but 
he did not tell her where he "had him". "And 
the yacht's going back to the nearest American 
port," he couldn't help adding, impetuously, 
to reassure her. 

"Going back? Impossible!" Wonder, in- 
credulity were in her voice. 

"It's true as shooting. Bet — " 

She was too bewildered to notice that slight 
slip of the tongue. "It's a fact, miss," he 
added more gruffly. 

"But how?" Her tones betrayed reticence 
in crediting the miracle. Yet this blackened 



248 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

figure must have prevailed over the prince or 
the latter would not have so mysteriously dis- 
appeared. "How did it happen ?" 

"Well, you see I just happened around." 

"You, a stoker?" 

Stokers, he was reminded by her tone, did 
not usually "happen around" on decks of pala- 
tial private yachts. He must seek a different, 
more definite explanation. He thought he saw 
a way ; he could let Tier know part of the truth. 
"The fact is, I was looking for this boat at the 
last port she stopped at. I had cause to think 
you would be on her. Couldn't stop the yacht 
from going to sea, for reasons too numerous 
to mention, so I just slipped out and came 
aboard in a kind of disguise — " 

"A disguise? Then you are a detective?" 

"I think I may truthfully say I am, but in 
a sort of private capacity. When a really 
important case occurs, it interests me. Now 
this was an important case, and — and it inter- 
ested me." He hardly knew what he was say- 
ing, her eyes were so insistent. Betty Dal- 
rymple had always had the most disconcerting 



THE COUP 249 

eyes. "Because, you see, your — ^your aunt was 
so anxious — ^and" — ^with a flash of inspira- 
tion — "the reward was a big one." 

"The reward ? Of course." Her voice died 
away. "You hoped to get it. That is the 



reason — ^" 



He let his silence answer in the afiirmative ; 
he felt relieved now. She had not recognized 
him — ^yet. In the recess behind the draperies 
the chair in which his excellency was bound, 
creaked. Was he struggling to release him- 
self? Mr. Heatherbloom had faith in the 
knots and the silken cords. The girl turned 
her head. 

"Don't you think it would be better" — ^he 
spoke quickly — "for you to return to your 
cabin? Til let you know when I want you 
and—" 

"But if I prefer to stay here? May I not 
turn on the lights ?" 

"Not for worlds !" Hastily. "It is neces- 
sary they should not see me. If they did — '* 

He was obliged to explain a little of the real 
situation to her; of the stratagem he had em- 



2SO A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

ployed. This he did in few words. She lis- 
tened eagerly. The mantle of the common- 
place, which to her eyes had fallen a few mo- 
ments before on his shoulders, became at least 
partly withdrawn. She divined the great 
hazard, the danger he had faced — was facing 
now. Detective or not, it had been daringly 
done. Her voice, with a warm thrill in it, 
said as much. Her eyes shone like stars. She 
came of a liv^ virile stock, from men and 
women who had done things themselves. 

"If only I, too, had a weapon!" she said, 
leaning toward him. "In case they should 
discover — " 

"No, no. It wouldn't do at all." 

"Why not?" the warm lips breathed. "I 
can shoot. Some one once taught me — " 

She stopped short. A chill seemed descend- 
ing. "You were saying — " he prompted 
eagerly. 

But she did not answer. The sweep of her 
hair made a shadowy veil around her; his 
mind harked swiftly back. She had always 
had wondrous hair. It had taken two big 



THE COUP 2SI 

braids to hold it; most girls could get their 
hair in one braid. He had been very proud, 
for her, of those two braids — once — with their 
blue or pink ribbons that had popped below the 
edge of her skirts. He continued to see blue 
and pink ribbons now. 

Both were for some time silent. At length 
she stirred — ^seated herself. Mr. Heatherbloom 
mechanically did likewise, but at a distance 
from her. He tried not to see her, to become 
mentally oblivious of her presence, to concen- 
trate again solely on the matter in hand. A 
long, long interval passed. Chug! chug! the 
engines continued to grind. How far away 
they sounded. Another sound, too, at length 
broke the stillness — a stealthy footfall on the 
deck. It sent him at once softly to the win- 
dow ; he gazed out. She followed. 

"Are — are we getting anywhere near port ?" 

He did not tell her that it was not port he 
was looking for so soon as he .gazed out search- 
ingly into the night. 

"What is it?" She had drawn the curtain 
a little. Her shoulder touched him. 



252 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Suddenly his arm swept her back. "What 
do you mean" — ^he turned on her sternly — ^''by 
drawing that curtain ?" 

"Was any one there ?" 

"Any one — " he began almost fiercely; 
then paused. The figure he had seen in that 
flash looked like that of the foreman of the 
stokers. In that case, then, the fellow was not 
dead; he had recovered. Through a mistaken 
sense of mercy • Mr. Heatherbloom had not 
slipped the seemingly lifeless body over the 
side. Now he, and she, too, were likely to pay 
dearly for that clemency. Bitterly he clenched 
his hands. Had the man caught a glimpse of 
him at the window ? A flicker of electric light, 
without, shone on it. 

The girl started again to speak. "Hush!" 
He drew her back yet farther. Above, some 
one had raised the corner of the canvas cover- 
ing the skylight. It was too dark, however, for 
the person, whoever it might be, to discern very 
much below. Neither Mr. Heatherbloom nor 
his companion now moved. The tenseness and 



THE COUP 253 

excitement of the moment held them. The girl 
breathed quickly; her hand was at his sleeve. 
Even in that moment of suspense and peril he 
was conscious of the nearness of her — the lithe 
young form so close ! ^ 

The creaking of the chair in the recess was 
again heard. Had his excellency caught sight 
of the person above ? Was he endeavoring to 
attract attention? And could the observer at 
the skylight discern the nobleman ? It seemed 
unlikely. The glass above did not appear to 
extend quite over the recess. Through a slight 
opening of the draperies Mr. Heatherbloom, 
however, could see his captive and noticed he 
seemed to be trying to tip back farther in his 
chair, to reach out behind with his bound hands 
— ^toward what? The young man abruptly 
realized, and half started to his feet — ^but not 
in time! The chair went over backward and 
came down with a crash, but not before his ex- 
cellency's fingers had succeeded in touching an 
electric button near the desk. A flood of light 
filled the place. 



254 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

It was answered by a shout — a signal for 
other voices. Fragments of glass fell around ; 
a figure dropped into the salon; others fol- 
lowed. The door to the deck yielded to force 
from without Mr. Heatherbloom, though 
surprised and outnumbered, struggled as best 
he might; his weapon rang out; then, as they 
pressed closer, he defended himself with the 
butt of his revolver and his fist 

There could be but one end to the imequal 
contest. The girl — a helpless spectator — real- 
ized that, though she could with difficulty per- 
ceive what took place, it was all so chaotic. She 
tried to draw nearer, but bearded faces inter- 
vened; rough hands thrust her back. She 
would have called out but the words would not 
come. It was like an evil dream. As through 
a mist she saw one among many who had en- 
tered from the deck — a giant in size. He car- 
ried an oaken bar in his hand and now stole 
sidewise with murderous intent toward the 
single figure striving so gallantly. 

"No, no!" Betty Dalrymple's voice came 



THE COUP 2S5 

back to her suddenly ; she exclaimed wildly, in- 
coherently. 

But the foreman of the stokers raised the 
bar, waited. He found his opportunity; his 
arm descended. 



s 



CHAPTER XIX 



AND THEN 



MR. HEATHERBLOOM regained con- 
sciousness, or semi-consciousness, in an 
ill-smelling place. His first impulse was to 
raise his hands to his aching head, but he could 
not do this on account of two iron bands that 
held his wrists to a stanchion. His legs, too, 
he next became vaguely aware, were fastened 
by a similar contrivance to the deck. He closed 
his eyes, and leaned back; the throbbings 
seemed to beat on his brain like the angry surf, 
smiting harder and harder until nature at 
length came to his relief and oblivion once 
more claimed him. 

How long it was before he again opened his 
eyes he could not tell. The shooting throes 
were still there but he could endure them now 
and even think in an incoherent fashion. He 

256 



AND THEN— 257 

gazed around. The light grudgingly admitted 
by a small port-hole revealed a bare prison-like 
cell. Realization of what it all meant, his be- 
ing there, swept over him, and, in a semi-deliri- 
ous frenzy, he tugged at his fastenings. He 
did not succeed in releasing himself; he only 
increased the hurtling waves of pain in his 
head. What did she think of her valiant res- 
cuer now, he who had raised her hopes so high 
but to dash them utterly ? 

Some one, some time later, brought him wa- 
ter and gave him bread, releasing his wrists 
while he ate and fastening them again when 
he had finished. The hours that seemed days 
passed. During that time he half thought he 
had another visitor but was not sure. The de- 
lirium had returned ; he strove to think lucidly, 
but knew himself very light-headed. He im- 
agined Sonia Turgeinov came to him, that she 
looked down on him. 

**Mon Dieu! It is my canine keeper; the 

man with the dogs. What a lame and impotent 

conclusion for one so clever! I looked for 

. something better from you, my intrepid friend. 



2s8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

who dared to come aboard in that thrilling 
manner — ^who managed to follow me, through 
what arts, I do not know. How are the mighty 
fallen!" 

Her tone was low, mocking. He disdained 
to reply. 

"Really, I am disaj^inted, after my not 
having betrayed who you were to the prince." 

"Why didn't you?" he said. 

She laughed. "Perhaps because I am an 
artist, and it seemed inartistic to intervene-^to 
interrupt the action at an inopportune moment 
— ^to stultify what promised to be an imusually 
involved complication. When first I saw and 
recognized you on the Nevski, it was like one 
of those divine surprises of the master dram- 
atist, M. Sardou. Really, I was indebted for 
the thrill of it. Besides, had I spoken, the 
prince might have tossed you overboard; he 
is quite capable of doing so. That, too, would 
have been inartistic, would have turned a com- 
edy of love into rank melodrama." 

Rank nonsense! Of course such a conversa- 
tion could not be real. But he cried out in the 



I 



AND THEN— 259 

dream: "What matter if his excellency had 
tossed me overboard ? What good am I here ?'* 
To her, you mean?' 
To her, of course." Bitterly. 

The vision's eyes were very bright ; her plas- 
tic, rather mature form bent nearer. He felt a 
cool hand at the bandage, readjusting it about 
his head. That, naturally, could not be. She 
who had betrayed Betty Dalrymple to the 
prince would not be sedulous about Mr. Heath- 
erbloom's injury. 

"Foolish boy!" she breathed. Incongruous 
solicitude ! "Who are you ? No common dog- 
tender— of that I am sure. What have you 
been?" 

"What—" Wildly. 

"There! there!" said half-soothingly that 
immaterial, now maternal visitant. *'Never 
mind." 

"How is she ? Where is she ?" he demanded, 
incoherently. 

"She is wellj and is going to be, very soon 
now, the prince's bride." 

"Never." 



260 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Don't let his excellency hear you say so in 
that tone. He thinks you only a detective, not 
an ardent, though secret wooer yourself. The 
Strogareffs brook no rivals," she laughed, "and 
he is already like a madman. I should tremble 
for your life if he dreamed — " 

"Help me to help her—" he said. "It will 
be more than worth your while. You did this 
for—" 

She shook her head. "I have descended very 
low, indeed, but not so low as that. Like the 
bravos of old" — ^was it she who spoke bit- 
terly now? — "Sonia Turgeinov is, at least, 
true to him who has given her the little 
douceur. No, no ; do not look to me, my young 
and Quixotic friend. You have only yourself 
to depend upon — " 

"Myself!" He felt the sharp iron cut his 
flesh. That seemed indubitabler-no mere fan- 
tasy of pain but pain itself. 

"Let well enough alone," she advised. "The 
prince will probably put you ashore somewhere 
. — ^I'U beg him to do that. He'll be better na- 
tured after — after the happy event," she 



AND THEN— 261 

laughed. "Perhaps, he'll even slip a little purse 
into your pocket though you did hurt a few of 
his men. Not that he cares much for them— 
mere serfs. You could find a little consola- 
tion, eh ? With a bottle, perhaps. Besides, I 
have heard these island girls have bright 
eyes." He could not speak. "Are you ada- 
mant, save for one?" she mocked. "Content 
yourself with what must be. It is a good match 
for her. The little fool might scour the world 
for a better one. As for you — ^your crazy infat- 
uation — ^what have you to offer? Tris drole! 
Do dog-tenders mate with such as she? No; 
destiny says to her, be a grand lady at the court 
of Petersburg. I am doing her a great favor. 
Many American families would pay me well, I 
tell you—" 

She paused. "You will smile at it all, some 
day, my friend. You played and lost. At least, 
it was daringly done. You deceived even me 
over the telephone. 'Go to sleep,* forsootli! 
You commanded in a right princely tone. And 
I obeyed." 

An instant her hand lingered once more near 



262 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

the bandage. It was ridiculous, that tentative, 
almost sympathetic touch. Then, she — Si fig- 
ment of disordered imagination — ^receded ; 
there was no doubt about his light-headedness 
now. 

They sent again bread and water, and, after 
what seemed an intolerable interval, he found 
himself eating with zest ; he wa^ exceedingly 
hungry. He also began to feel mentally nor- 
mal, although his thoughts were the reverse of 
agreeable. Days had, no doubt, gone by. He 
chafed at this enforced inaction, but some- 
times through sheer weariness fell into a sem- 
blance of natural sleep despite the sitting pos- 
ture he was obliged to maintain. On one such 
occasion he was abruptly awakened by a light 
thrown suddenly on his face. He would have 
started to his feet but the fetters restrained 
him. 

It was night ; a lantern, held by a hand that 
shook slightly, revealed a face he did not know- 
He felt assured, however, of his mental lucid- 
ity at the moment. The new-comer, though a 
stranger, was undoubtedly flesh and blood. 



AND THEN— 263 

"What do you want ?" said the prisoner. 

"A word with you, Monsieur." The speaker 
had a smooth face and dark soulful eyes. His 
manner was both furtive and constrained. He 
looked around as if uncomfortable at finding 
himself in that place. 

"Well, I guess you can have it I can't get 
away," muttered the manacled man. 

"Miss Dalrymple sent me." 

Mr. Heatherbloom's interest was manifest; 
he strove to suppress outward signs of it. 
"What— what for?" 

"She wanted to make sure you were not 
dead." 

The prisoner did not answer; his emotion 
was too great at the moment to permit his do- 
ing so. She was in trouble, yet she considered 
the poor detective. That was like her — 
straight as a string — ^true blue— 

The visitor started to go. "Hold on!" said 
Mr. Heatherbloom, whose ideas were surging 
fast. This youth had managed to come here 
at her instigation. Had she made a friend of 
him, an ally ? He did not appear an heroic one, 



264 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

but he was, no doubt, the best that had offered. 
Betty Dalrymple was not one to sit idly; she 
would seek ways and means. She was clever, 
knew how to use those violet eyes. (Did not 
Mr. Heatherbloom himself remember?) Who 
was he — ^this nocturnal caller? Not an officer 
— ^he was too young. Cabin-boy, perhaps? 
More likely the operator. Mr. Heatherbloom 
had noticed that the yacht was provided with 
the wireless outfit. 

"How long have I been here ?" he now asked 
abruptly. 

"It is three days since monsieur was knocked 
on the head." 

Mr. Heatherbloom looked down. "Three 
days? Well, it cost me a fortune," he sighed, 
remembering the role of detective that had 
been thrust upon him. "I could have stood for 
the sore head." 

The other had his foot at the threshold but 
he lingered. "How much of a fortune ? What 
was the reward?" He strove to speak care- 
lessly but there was a trace of eagerness in 
his tones. 



AND THEN— 265 

"You mean what is it?" returned Mr. Heath- 
erbloom, and named an amount large enough 
to make the soulful eyes open. "And to 
think," watchfully, "one little message to the 
shore might procure for the sender such a 
sum!" 

"Monsieur!" Indignantly. "You think that 
I would—" 

"Then you are the wireless operator?" 

"I was." Francois spoke more calmly. "His 
excellency has had the apparatus destroyed. 
He will take no chances of other spies or de- 
tectives being aboard who might understand its 



use." 



The prisoner hardly heard the last words; 
for the moment he was concerned only with his 
disappointment A sudden hope had died al- 
most as soon as it had been bom. "Too bad !" 
he murmured. Then — "How did you get 
here?" 

"The third officer has the keys and our cab- 
ins are adjoining. I seized an oiq)ortune mo- 
ment, slipped in, and took a wax impression of 
what I wanted. Then with an old key and a 



266 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



file — Monsieur is a great detective, perhaps, 
but I, too," with Gaston boastfuhiess, "can as- 
pire to a little cleverness." 

"A great deal," said Mr. Heatherbloom, the 
while his brain worked rapidly. Betty Dalrym- 
ple must have paid the youth well for serving 
her thus far. Thrift, as well as sentiment, 
seemed to shine from Francois* eloquent dark 
eyes. Could he be induced to espouse her cause 
yet further? 

"Monsieur must not think I would prove dis- 
loyal to his excellency, my employer," spoke up 
the youth as if reading what had been passing 
through the other's mind. "There could be no 
harm in a mere inquiry as to monsieur's state 
of health." 

None at all," assented the prisoner quickly. 
Though" — a sudden inspiration came to Mr. 
Heatherbloom — "contingencies may arise 
when one can best serve those who employ him 
by secretly opposing them." • 

"I don't understand. Monsieur," said Fran- 
cois cautiously. 

"The prince is a madman. By incurring the 






AND THEN— 267 

m 

enmity of his Imperial Master he would rush 
on to his own destruction. Suppose by this mis- 
alliance, the very map of Europe itself were 
destined to be changed ?" 

The words sounded portentous, and Francois 
stared. He had imagination. The beautiful 
American girl had told him that this man be- 
fore him was a great and daring detective. He 
spoke now even as an emissary of the czar him- 
self. The prince was a high lord, close to the 
throne. These were deep waters. The youth 
looked troubled; Mr. Heatherbloom allowed 
the thought he had inspired to sink in. 

"What is our first port ?'* his voice, more au- 
thoritative, now demanded. 

Francois mentioned an island. 

"When do we get there ?" 

"We are near it to-night but on account of 
the rocks and reefs, I heard the captain say we 
would slow down, so as not to enter the harbor 
until daybreak." 

Daybreak! And then? Mr. Heatherblocmi 
closed his eyes; when he again opened them 
they revealed none of the poignant emotion 



268 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



that had swept over him. "What time is it 
now ?" 

"About ten." 

"My jailer — ^the third officer, you say — visits 
this cell once every night. Do you know what 
time he comes ?" 

"I shouldn't be here, Monsieur, at this mo- 
ment, if I didn't know that He comes in an 
hour, after his watch is over, with the bread 
and water — ^monsieur's frugal fare. And 
now" — those apprehensions, momentarily dulled 
by wonderment seemed returning to Francois 
— "I will bid monsieur — " 

"Stay! One moment!" Mr. Heatherbloom's 
accents were feverish, commanding. "You 
must — ^in the name of the czar! — for the 
prince's sake! — for hers — for- — for the re- 
ward — " 

"Monsieur !" Again that flicker of indigna- 
tion. 

Mr. Heatherbloom swept it aside. "She has 
asked you to help her escape?" he demanded 
swiftly. 

Francois did not exactly deny. There were 



AND THEN— 269 

no listeners here. "It would be impossible for 
her to escape," he answered rather sullenly. 

"Then she did broach a. plan — one you re- 
fused to accede to. What was it?" 

"Mere madness!" Scoffingly. "Made- 
moiselle may be generous, and mon Dieu! very 
persuasive, but she doesn't get me to — " 

"What was her proposal? Answer." Stern- 
ly. "You can't incriminate yourself here." 

Francois knew that The cell was remote. 
There could be no harm in letting the talk drift 
a little further. He replied, briefly outlining 
the plan. 

"Excellent!" observed Mr. Heatherbloom. 

"Mere madness !" reiterated Francois. 

"Not at all. But if it were, some people 
would, under the circumstances," with subtle 
accent, "gladly imdertake it — ^just as you will 1" 
he added. 

'Oh, Willi?" Ironically. 
'Yes, when you hear all I have to say. In 
the first place, I relinquish all claim to the re- 
ward. Sufficient for me — " And Mr. Heath- 
erbloom mumbled something about the czar. 



(d 



tr 



270 A MAN AND HIS MONET 



€^^ 



^Bah! That sounds very well, only there 
wouldn't be any reward," retorted Francois. 
**The prince would only capture us again and 
then — ** He shrugged. "I know his temper 
and have no desire for the longer voyage with 
old man Charon — ^" 

"Wait!" More aggressively. "I have not 
done. No one will suspect that you have been 
here to-night ?" he asked. 

"Does monsieur think I am a fool ? No, no ! 
And now my little errand for mademoiselle be- 
ing finished — " 

"You can do as Miss Dalrjrmple wishes, 
achieve an embarrassment of riches, and run 
no risk whatever yourself." 

Indeed ?" Starting slightly. 

^At least, no appreciable one." Mr. Heath- 
erbloom explained his plan quickly. Francois 
listened, at first with open skepticism, then with 
growing interest. 

*'Mon Dieu! If it were possible!" he mut- 
tered. South-of-France imagination had again 
been appealed to. "But no — " 

"Remember all the reward will be for you" 



"] 



AND THEN— 271 

m 

— swiftly — "sufficient to buy vineyards and 
settle down for a life of peace and plenty — " 
Francois' eyes wavered ; any Frenchman would 
have found the picture enticing. Already the 
beautiful American girl had, as Mr. Heather- 
bloom suspected, surreptitiously thrust several 
valuable jewels upon the youth as a reward for 
this preliminary service. Having experienced a 
foretaste of riches, Francois perhaps secretly 
longed for more of the glittering gems and for 
some of those American dollars which sounded 
five times as large in francs. Besides, this man, 
the great detective, or emissary, inspired con- 
fidence; his tones were vibrant, compelling. 

"And for you, Monsieur? — ^the risk for 
you — " Francois faltered. 

"Never mind about me. You consent?" 

The other swallowed, muttered a monosylla- 
ble in a low tone. 

"Then — " Heatherbloom murmured a few 
instructions. "Miss Dalrymple is not to know." 

"I understand," said Francois quickly. And 
going out stealthily, he closed and locked the 
door behind him. 



CHAPTER XX 



INTO THE INFINITE 



THE midnight hour drew near, and, above 
deck, tranquillity reigned. It was, how- 
ever, the comparative quiet that follows a storm. 
A threatening day had culminated in a fierce 
tropical downpour — a cloud-burst — ^when the 
very heavens had seemed to open. The Nevski, 
steaming forward at half speed, had come al- 
most to a stop ; struck by the masses of water, 
she had fairly staggered beneath the impact 
Now she lay motionless, while every 
shroud and line dripped; the darkness 
had become inky. Only the light from 
cabin windows which lay on the wet 
deck like shafts of silver relieved that Cim- 
merian effect. The sea moaned from the lash- 
ing it had received — ^a faint undertone, how- 
ever, that became suddenly drowned by loud 

272 



- X . 



INTO THE INFINITE 273 

and harsh clangor, the hammering on metal 
somewhere below. Possibly something had 
gone wrong with a hatch or iron compartment 
door inadvertently left open, or one of the 
ventilators may have got jammed and needed 
adjusting. The captain, as he hastened down a 
companionway, muttered angrily beneath his 
breath about water in the stoke room. The 
decks, in the vicinity of the cabins, seemed 
now deserted, when from the shadows, a figure 
that had merged in the general gloom, stepped 
out and passed swiftly through one of the 
trails of light. Gliding stea,lthily toward the 
stem, this person drew near the rail, and, peer- 
ing cautiously over, looked down on one of the 
small boats swung out in readiness for the 
landing party at dawn. 

"Mademoiselle," he breathed low. 

"Is that you, Prancois?" came up softly 
from the boat. 

He murmured something. "Is all in readi- 



ness r 

it 



?" 



'Quite! Make haste." 
The person above, about to swing himselt 



274 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

over the rail, paused ; a cabin door, near by, had 
been thrown open and a stream of light shot 
near him. Some one came out ; moreover, she — 
for the some one was a woman — did not close 
the door. The youth crouched back, trying to 
draw himself from sight but the woman saw 
him, and coming quickly forward spoke. She 
thought him, no doubt, one of the sailors. He 
did not answer, perhaps was too frightened to 
do so, and his silence caused her to draw 
nearer. More sharply she started to address 
him in her own native Russian but the words 
abruptly ceased; a sudden exclamation fell 
from her lips. He, as if made desperate by 
what the woman, now at the rail, saw or di- 
vined, seemed imbued with extraordinary 
strength. The success or failure of the en- 
terprise hung on how he met this unexpected 
emergency. Heroic, if needs be, brutal meas- 
ures were demanded. Her outcry was stifled, 
but Sonia Turgeinov was strong and resisted 
like a tigress. Perhaps she thought he meant 
to kill her, and in an excess of fear she man- 
aged to call out once. Fortunately for the 



INTO THE INFINITE 275 

youth, the hammering below continued, but 
whether she had made herself heard or not 
was uncertain. Confronted by a dire possi- 
bility, he exerted himself to the utmost to still 
that warning voice. In frenzied haste he seized 
the heavy scarf she had thrown around her 
shoulders upon leaving the cabin and wound 
it about her face and head. The sinuous body 
seemed to grow limp in his arms. His was 
not a pleasant task but a necessary one. This 
woman had delivered the girl to the prince in 
the first place ; would now attempt to frustrate 
her escape. Any moment some one else might 
come on deck and discover them. 

"Quick! Why don't you come ?" Betty Dal- 
rymple's anxious voice ascended from the 
darkness. 

The youth knew well that no time must be 
lost, but what to do? He could not leave the 
woman. She might be only feigning uncon- 
sciousness. And anyway they would soon 
find her and learn the truth. That would mean 
their quick recapture. Already he thought he 
heard a footstep descending from the bridge — 



276 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

approaching — With extraordinary strength 
for one of Francois' slender build, he swung 
the figure of the woman over the side, dropped 
her into the boat and followed himself. A 
breathless moment of suspense ensued ; he lis- 
tened. The approaching footsteps came on; 
then paused, and turned the other way. The 
youth waited no longer. The little boat at the 
side was lowered softly; it touched the water 
and floated away from the Nevski like a 
leaf. Then the darkness swallowed it. 



"How far are we from the yacht now, Fran- 
cois?" 

"Only a few miles, Mademoiselle." 

"Do you think we'll be far enough away at 
daybreak so they can't see us ?" 

"Have no fear. Mademoiselle." The voice 
of Francois in the stem, thrilled. •'There's a 
fair sailing wind." 

"Isn't it strange" — Betty Dalrymple, speak- 
ing half to herself, regarded the motionless 
form in the bottom of the boat — "that she, of 
all persons, and I, should be thus thrust to- 



INTO THE INFINITE 277 

gether, in such a tiny craft, on such an enor- 
mous sea ?'* 

"I really couldn't help it. Mademoiselle" — 
apologetically — "bringing her with us. There 
was no alternative." 

"Oh, Fm not criticizing you, who did so 
splendidly." The girl's eyes again fell. "She 
is unconscious a long time, Francois." 

The youth's reply was lost amid the sound 
of the waters. Only the sea talked now, wild- 
ly, moodily ; flying feathers of foam flecked the 
night. The boat took the waves laboriously 
and came down with shrill seething. She 
seemed ludicrously minute amid that vast un- 
rest. The youth steered steadily; to Betty 
Dalrymple he seemed just going on anyhow, 
dashing toward a black blanket with nothing 
beyond. It was all very wonderful and awe- 
inspiring as well as somewhat fearsome. The 
waves had a cruel sound if one listened to them 
closely. A question floating in her mind found, 
after a long time, hesitating but audible ex- 
pression : 

"Do you think there's any doubt about oiu* 



278 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



being able to make one of the islands, Fran- 
cois?'' 

*'None whatever!" came back the confident, 
almost eager reply. "Not the slightest doubt in 
the world, Mademoiselle. The islands are very 
near and we can't help seeing one of them at 
daybreak." 

"Daybreak?" she said. "I wish it were here 



now." 



Swish ! swish ! went the sea with more men- 
acing soimd. For the moment Francois steered 
wildly, and the boat careened; he brought 
her up sharply. The girl spoke no more. Per- 
haps the motion of the little craft gradually 
became more soothing as she accustomed her- 
self to it, for, before long, her head drooped. 
It was dry in the bow ; a blanket protected her 
from the wind, and, weary with the events of 
the last few days, she seemed to rest as secure- 
ly on this wave-rocked couch as a child in its 
cradle. The youth, uncertain whether she slept 
or not, forbore to disturb her. Hours went by. 

As the night wore on a few stars came out 
in a discouraged kind of way. Heretofore he 



INTO THE INFINITE 279 

had been steering by the wind ; now, that scanty 
peripatetic band, adrift on celestial highways^ 
assisted him in keeping his course. When one 
sleepy-eyed planet went in, another, not far 
away (from the human scope of survey) came 
out, and Francois, with the perspicacity of a 
follower of the sea, seemed to have learned 
how to gage direction by a visual game of 
hide-and-seek with the pin-points of infinitude. 
Between watching the stars, the sea and the 
sail, he foimd absorbing occupation for mind 
and muscle. Sometimes, in the water's depres- 
sions, a lull would catch them, then when the 
wind boomed again over the tops of the crests, 
slapping fiercely the canvas, a brief period of 
hazard had to be met The boat, like a delicate 
live creature, needed a fine as well as a firm 
hand. 

His faculties thus concentrated, Francois 
had remained oblivious to the dark form in the 
center of the boat, although long ago Sonia 
Turgeinov had first moved and looked up. If 
she made any sound, he whose glance passed 
steadily over her had not heard it She raised 



28o A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

herself slightly ; sat a long time motionless, an 
arm thrown over a seat, her eyes alternating in 
direction, from the seas near the downward 
gunwale, to the almost indistinguishable figure 
of him in the stem, the while her fingers played 
with a scarf — ^the one that had been wotmd 
around her head. Once she leaned back, her 
cheek against the sharp thwart, her gaze heav- 
enward. She remained thus a long while, with 
body motionless, though her fingers continued 
to toy with the bit of heavy silk, as if keeping 
pace with some mercurial rush of thoughts. 

A wastrel, she had been in many strange 
places, but never before had she found herself 
in a situation so extraordinary. To her star- 
tled outlook, the boat might well have seemed 
a chip tossed on the mad foam of chaos. This 
figure, almost indistinguishable, yet so stead- 
fastly present at the stem of the little craft, 
appeared grim and ghostlike. But that he was 
no ghost — His grip had been real; certainly 
that. He had been, too, perforce, a master of 
action. She leaned her head on her elbow. 
Strangely, she felt no resentment. 



INTO THE INFINITE 281 

The tired stars, as by a community of inter- 
est and common understanding, slowly faded 
altogether. The woman bent her glance bow- 
ward. The day — what would it reveal? 
She understood a good deal, yet much still puz- 
zled her. As through a dream, she had seemed 
to hear the name, "Francois" — ^to listen to a 
crystalline voice, fresh as the tinkling bells in 
some temple at the dawn. The darkness of the 
sky fused into a murky gray, and as that som- 
ber tone began, in turn, to be replaced by a 
lighter neutral tint, she made out dimly the 
figure of the girl. As by a species of fascina- 
tion, she continued to look at her while the 
mom unfolded slowly. From behind a dark 
promontory of vapor, Aurora's warm hand 
now tossed out a few careless ribbons. They 
lightened the chilly-looking sea; they touched 
a golden tress — ^just one, that stole out from 
under the gray blanket. The girl's face could 
not be seen ; the hejavy covering concealed the 
lines of the lithe young form. 

As she continued to sleep — ^undisturbed by 
the first manifestations of the dawn — the worn- 



282 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

an's glance swept backward to him at the heltiu 
The shafts of light showed now his face, worn 
and set, yet strangely transfigured. He did 
not seem to notice her ; beneath heavy lids his 
quick glances shot this way and that to where 
wisps of mist on the surface x)f the sea partly 
obscured the outlook. Sonia Turgeinov di- 
vined his purpose; he was looking for the 
Nevski. But although he continued to search 
in the direction of the yacht, he did not catch 
sight of her. Ohly the winding and twining 
diaphanous veils played where he feared she 
might have been visible. An expression of 
great satisfaction passed over his features. 

Then he swayed from sheer weariness; he 
could have dropped gladly to the bottom of the 
boat. Brain as well as sinew has its limita- 
tions and the night had been long and trying. 
He had done work that called for tenseness and 
mental concentration every moment. He had 
outlasted divers and many periods when catas- 
trophe might have overwhelmed them, and now 
that the blackness which had shrouded a thou- 
sand unseen risks and perils had been swept 



INTO THE INFINITE 283 

aside, an almost overpowering reaction claimed 
him. This natural lassitude became the more 
marked after he had scanned the horizon in 
vain for the prince's pleasure-yacht. 

His task, however, was far from over, and 
he straightened. To Sonia Turgeinov, his gaze 
and his expression were almost somnambu- 
listic. He continued steering, guiding their 
destinies as by force of habit. Luckily the 
breeze had waned and the boat danced more 
gaily than dangerously. It threw little rain- 
bows of spray in the air; he blinked at them, 
his eyes half closed. In the bow the old dun- 
colored blanket stirred but he did not see it. A 
glorious sun swept up, and began to lap thirst- 
ily the wavering mists from the surface of the 
sea. 

Sonia Turgeinov spoke now softly to the 
steersman. What she said he did not know; 
his lack-luster gaze met hers. All dislike and 
disapproval seemed to have vanished from it; 
he saw her only as one sees a face in a daguer- 
reotype of long ago, or looks at features limned 
by a soulless etcher. 



284 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



"Do you see it?" he asked. 
"What?" 



"Trees? Aren't those trees?" 

"I see nothing." 

"You do. You must. They are tfiere.'* He 
spoke almost roughly, as if she irritated himu 

"Oh, jres. I think I do see something," she 
said, and started. "Like a speck? — 3, film? — 
a bird's wing, perhaps ?" 

In the bow the blanket again stirred. Then, 
as from the dull chrysalis emerge brightness 
and beauty, so from those dim folds sprang 
into the morning light a red-lipped, lovely 



vision. 



Trees," repeated the steersman to Sonia 
Turgeinov. "I am positive — " he went on, but 
lost interest in his own words. Fatigue seemed 
to fall from him in an instant ; he stared. 

From beneath her golden hair Betty Dal- 
fymple's eyes flashed full upon him. 

"You!" she said. 

Mr. Heatherbloom appeared to relapse; his 
expression — ^that smile — ^vague, indefinit< 
again partook of the somnambulistic 



CHAPTER XXI 

AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 

THE most unexpected and extraordinary 
thing in the world had happened, yet 
Betty Dalrymple asked no questions. Had she 
done so, it is probable that Mr. Heatherbloom 
would have been physically unequal to the laby- 
rinthine explanation the occasion demanded. 
For a brief spell the girl had continued to re* 
gard him and she had seemed about to speak 
further. Then the blue light of her gaze had 
slowly turned and her lips remained mute. He 
was glad of this; of course he would later 
have to tell something, but sufficient unto that 
unlucky hour were the perplexities thereof. 
Sonia Turgeinov had been surprised, too, but 
it was Betty Dalrymple's surprise that had most 
awakened her wonder. "Why, didn't you 
know it was he?" the dark eyes seemed to say 

285 



286 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

to the young girl. "Who else, on earth, did 
you think it was?" The mystery for her, as 
well as ^or Betty Dalrymple, deepened. Only 
for Mr. Heatherbloom there existed no mys- 
tery ; it was all how clear as day. He had done 
what he had set out to do. She would soon be 
enabled to find her way back to civilization. 
His present concern lay with the occupation of 
the moment. 

The tree was a tree ; this was the most mo- 
mentous immediate consideration; a few more 
miles had established that fact with positive- 
ness. But distances on the water are long, and 
they three would have to journey together on 
the sea yet a while. He bethought him of his 
duties as host; these — ^his two passengers — 
were in his care. 

"You should find biscuits in a basket and 
water in a cask," he said, speaking to both of 
them, and, at the same time, to immeasurable 
distance. "If you don't mind looking — ^I can't 
very well." 

At that, a nervous laugh welled from Sonia 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 287 

Turgeinov's throat ; she had to give way. Pos- 
sibly the absurd thought seized her that all the 
tragedies and comedies might be simmered 
down to one thing. Were there biscuits in the 
basket? But Betty Dalrymple did not laugh; 
her eyes were like stars on a wintry night ; her 
face was white as paper. It was turned now 
from the steersman — ^ahead. She saw the 
blur before them become a definite line of 
green; later she made out details, the large 
heads of small trees. The former looked like 
big overflowing cabbages ; the trunks, beneath, 
sprawled this way and that, as the vagaries of 
the wind had directed their growth. In front 
of them and the vernal strip, a white line slow- 
ly resolved itself into moving foam. She — 
they all could hear it now, faintly — ^they 
were very near; no thunderous anthem it 
pealed forth ; its voice seethed in soft cadences. 
Mr. Heatherbloom, with sheet taut, ran his 
craft toward the sands but the boat grounded 
some little distance from the shore. It was 
useless to attempt to go farther so he let 



288 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

his sail out, got up and stepped overboard. 
The water was rather more than knee deep; 
he tugged at the boat and attempted to draw 
her up farther without much success. She 
was too heavy, and desisting from his ef- 
forts, he approached Miss Dalrymple. The 
young girl shrank back slightly, but seem- 
ing not to notice that first instinctive move- 
ment, he reached over and lifted her out. It 
was don^ in a businesslike manner and with 
no more outward concern than a Kikuji porter 
might have displayed in meeting the exigencies 
of a like situation. The bubbles seethed 
around Mr. Heatherbloom's legs; unmindful 
of them or the shifting sands beneath foot, he 
strode straight as might be for the shore. His 
burden was not a heavy one but it seemed 
very still and unyielding. He released her 
at the earliest possible opportunity and in the 
same matter-of-fact way (still that of a human 
ferry on the banks of the turbulent Chania) he 
returned for his other passenger. Around 
Sonia Turgeinov's rich lips a mocking smile 
seemed to play ; she arose at once. 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 289 
"How charming! How very gallant!" she 

■ 

murmured. "First, you nearly strangle one, 
and then — " 

Her soft arm stole about his neck, and her 
warm breath swept his cheek as, stony-faced, 
he trudged along. This time his burden was 
heavier, although there were men who would 
not have minded that under the circumstances. 
The dark eyes, full of sparkles and enigmas, 
turned upon his frosty ones. But she did not 
see very far into that so-called medium of the 
soul ; 'she received only an impression one gets 
in looking at a wall. 

He put her down — ^gently. Whereupon, her 
dark brows lifted ironically. He, gentle — ^to 
her? Did she dream? She felt again that 
fterce clasp of the night before, and men- 
tally told herself she would like to label him 
an artistic study in contrasts. Really the 
adventure began to be "worth while"; she 
felt almost reconciled to it. He hsld carried 
her off as the rough, old-fashioned pirates 
bear away feminine prizes from a town they 
have looted. From dog-tender to bucaneer 



290 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

e— he appealed to her imagination. She ex- 
perienced a childlike desire to sit down where 
he had left her and play with the shells. 
But instead she looked toward Betty Dalrym- 
ple. That young girl, however, did not return 
her regard, though the golden head, a few mo- 
ments before, had lifted once, with a swift, 
bird-like motion toward Sonia Turgeinov, en 
route beachward. Now the girl's features 
were steadfastly bent away; whatever gladness 
she may have felt in thus, after many vicissi- 
tudes, reaching land safely, she kept to herself. 
Mr. Heatherbloom resumed the task of por- 
ter ; his next burden — ^the water-cask — was the 
heaviest of all. He struggled with it and once 
nearly went down, so tired was he, but he got 
it ashore, and the basket of biscuits, too, and 
some other things. The boat, floating more 
lightly, he now pulled to the strand; then he 
took out the spar and the sail. This done, he 
gazed around ; the place was deserted by man, 

though of birds and crabs and other crawling 
objects there were a-plenty. Mr. Heatherbloom 
stood with knitted brow ; it was a time for con- 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 291 

templation, visual and mental. For the latter 
he did not feel very fit as he strove to think 
what was best to do next. The other two — ^he 
still forced himself to keep to the purely im- 
personal aspect of the case — ^were his charges. 
Being women, they were mutually and equally 
(the mockery of it!) dependent on him. He 
was responsible for their welfare and well- 
being. In the sail-boat he had been captain; 
ashore, he became commandant, an answerable 
factor. He began to plan. 

What kind of place had they come to? — 
was it big or small? — inhabited, or deserted? 
All this would have to be ascertained, later. 
Meanwhile, temporary headquarters were need- 
ed ; he would erect a tent. The spar and boom 
served for the ridge and front poles, the sail 
for the canvas covering, the sheet and hal- 
yards for the restraining lines. Sonia Tur- 
geinov again watched him; her interest was 
now of that vague kind she had sometimes ex- 
perienced when the manager appeared on a 
darkened stage, with a fresh crackling manu- 
script. Then she had lolled back and listened 



292 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

to the first reading. She would have lolled 
back now — for the air was soporific — but, in- 
stead, she started suddenly. The old wound 
on Mr. Heatherbloom's head, heretofore con- 
cealed by the cap Francois had procured for 
him, had reopened as he exerted himself; he 
raised his hand quickly and seemed a little at a 
loss. She stepped to him at once. 

"The scarf, Monsieur?" 

"Thank you." He took it absently. 

"It serves divers purposes," she murmured. 
And Mr. Heatherbloom, remembering the 
more violent employment hel had found for it 
the night before, flushed slightly. 

She added delicate emphasis to her remark 
by assisting him. With her own fingers she 
tied a knot, and rather painstakingly spread 
out the ends. He endured grimly. Miss 
Dalrymple appeared not to have observed the 

* 

episode but, of course, it had in reality been 
all quite fully revealed to her. It was in 
keeping with certain circumstances of the 
past that the Russian woman should not be 
unmindful of him, her confrere in the con- 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 293 

spiracy. That much was patent; but other 
happenings were not so easily reconciled. 
What had taken place on the deck of the 
Nevski in those breathless last few moments as 
they were escaping, was in ill conformity with 
those amicable relations which should have ex- 
isted between the two. This man's presence 
in the boat, in the place of Francois, could be 
explained by no logical process with the prem- 
ises she had at her command. 

The bandage possessed a subtly weird and 
bizarre interest for the young girl. He had 
been injured. How? For what reason ? Betty 
Dalrymple's mind swept, seemingly without 
very definite cause, to another scene, one of 
violence. Again she heard the crashing of 
glass and saw forms leaping into the cabin. 
Her thoughts reverted, on the instant, to the 
unknown helper she had been obliged to leave 
behind. Somehow, real as he had been, he 
seemed at this moment strangely apart, some- 
thing in the abstract. Then all illusive specu- 
lations merged abruptly into a realization that 
needed no demonstration. Sonia Turgeinov 



294 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

possessed a certain outre attractiveness the 
young girl had never noted before. The violet 
eyes, shining through the long shading lashes, 
rested a moment on her; then passed steadily 
beyond. 

"I'm off for a look around." Mr. Heather- 
bloom, having transferred their meager posses- 
sions to the tent, now addressed Miss Dalrym- 
ple, or Sonia Turgeinov, or an indefinite space 
between them. "Better stay right here while 
Tm gone." His tones had a firm accent. 
"Sorry there are only biscuits for breakfast, 
but perhaps there'll be better fare before long. 
If you should move around" — his eye lingered 
authoritatively on Betty Dalrymple — "keep to 
the beach." 

"How very solicitous!" laughed Sonia Tur- 
geinov as the young man strode off. "That 
was intended especially for you, Mademoiselle. 
As for me, it does not matter." With a shrug. 
"I might stroll into the wood, be devoured by 
wild beasts, and who would care ?" 

Betty Dalrymple did not answer. 

"A truce. Mademoiselle !" said the other in 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 295 

the same gay tone. "I know very well what 
you think of me. You told me very clearly on 
the Nevski, and before that, on shore. In this 
instance, however, since it is through no fault 
or choice of mine that we are thrown thus 
closely tbgether, would it not be well to make 
the best of the situation?" 

"There seems, indeed, no choice in the mat- 
ter," answered the young girl coldly. 

"None, unless like those in the admirable 
play, we elect to pitch our respective camps at 
different parts of the beach. But that would 
be absurd, wouldn't it? Besides, I have my 
punishment — ^no light one for Sonia Turgeinov 
who herself has been accustomed to a little 
adulation in the past. I am de trop" 

^'De trop?" There was a faint uplifting of 
the brow. "You should not be altogether that." 
• "You mean I should be very friendly with 
him, my colleague and confidant, n'est ce pasf* 
Sonia's dark eyes swept swiftly the proud 
lovely face. "In truth he proved an able assist- 
ant." Her voice was a little mocking. "What 
if I should tell you it was he who planned it all 



296 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

•—devised the ways and means ?" A statue could 
not have been more immovable than Betty Dal- 
rymple. "Or," suddenly, "what if I should 
say quite — au contraire" The girl stirred, 
Sonia Turgeinov seemed to ruminate. "Should 
I be so forgiving — ^after last night?" she mur- 
mured. "It would be inconsistent, wouldn't 
it? — or angelic? And I am no angel." 

The girl's lips started to form a question 
but she did not speak. Afar, Mr. Heather- 
bloom's figure could be seen, almost at the van- 
ishing point. He was toiling: up an incline. 
Then the green foliage swallowed him. Sonia 
Turgeinov smiled at vacancy. "Though I do 
owe him a little," she went on, half medita- 
tive. "He was kind to me in the park. He was 
sorry for me. Think of it, and without ad- 
miring me. Other men have professed for poor 
Sonia Turgeinov a little interest or solicitude at 
divers times and places, but it has always been 
accompanied with something else. Is that be- 
yond the understanding of your pure soul, 
nourished in a hothouse. Mademoiselle?" 
There was a sudden hard ring of rebellion in 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 297 

her tones. "Am I handsome ? Your eyes said 
it not long ago. Ma foi!" Her voice becom- 
ing light again. "It was Parsifal himself who 
talked with me in the park — ^that place for ren- 
dezvous and romances." Her thoughts leaped 
over time and space. "The first light of the 
sun revealed to you this day the last face you 
expected to see. It was as if a bit of miracle, 
or a little diablerie had happened. I, too, was 
in a haze, not so great — ^though on the deck 
the night before I little expected to encounter 
one I had last seen in chains, a prisoner — " 

"A prisoner — in chains — ^he — " Betty Dal- 
rymple stared. 

"You did not know? What on earth did 
you expect? That the prince would give him 
the siiite de luxe after the beating his excellency 
received — " 

"The beating?" half-stammered the girl. 
"Then the man in the salon who claimed to be 
a detective was — " 

"What? He claimed that?" laughed Sonia 
Turgeinov. ^'Trks drole!" 

But Betty Dalrymple did not laugh. Her 



298 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

eyes, bent seaward, saw nothing now of the 
leaping waves ; her face was fixed as a cameo's. 
Only her hair stirred, wind-tossed, all in mo- 
tion like her thoughts. And regarding her, 
Sonia Turgeinov's eyes began to harden a lit- 
tle. Did the woman regret for the moment 
what she had said, divining again some play 
within a play? Yet what could there be in 
common between this beautiful heiress and the 
gardeur de chiensf No ! it was absurd to con- 
ceive anything of the kind. Nevertheless 
Sonia Turgeinov unaccountably began to expe- 
rience a vague hostility for the young girl ; this 
she might partly attribute to the great gaps 
of convention separating them. Her own life, 
in confused pictures, surged panorama-like 
before her mental vision: The garret begin- 
ning ; the cold and hunger hardships ; the beat- 
ings, when a child ; the girl problems — so hard ; 
the woman's — Faugh! what a life! Would 
that the flame of the artist had burned more 
brightly or not at all. She tried to imagine 
what she would have been, if she, too, had 
been bom to a golden cradle. 



AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION 299 

A great ennui swept over her. How old she 
felt on a sudden! And how homesick, too. 
Yes; that was it — homesickness. She could 
have stretched out her arms toward her much 
beloved and, sometimes, a little hated, Russia. 
The bright domes of her native city seemed to 
shine now in her eyes. She walked in spirit 
the stony pavement of the Kremlin. Cruelty, 
intolerance, suffering — all these reigned in the 
city of extremes, but she would have kissed 
even the cold marble at the feet of dead ty- 
rants, the way the people did, if she could have 
stood at that moment in one of the old, old 
sacred places. Her brief flight into the new 
world had led her to no pots of gold at rain- 
bow end. The little honorarium from his ex- 
cellency for her part in this adventure, she did 
not want now. She regretted that she had ever 
embarked upon it. What penalty might she 
not have to pay yet? The law, with dragon 
fingers would reach out — no doubt was reach- 
ing out now — to grip her. Well, let it. 

A crisp, matter-of-fact voice— concealing 
any agitation the speaker may have felt — ^broke 



300 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

in upon these varied reflections. Mr. Heather* 
bloom, rather out of breath but quiet and de- 
termined, stood before them. 

"Miss Dalrymple ! — Mademoiselle ! There is 
no occasion for alarm but it will be necessary 
for us to leave here at once I" 



CHAPTER XXII 

AN UNEXPECTEaj OFFER 

^ I ^O leave?" It was Sonia Turgeinov 
A who spoke. "You mean — " Her eyes 
turned ocean ward but saw nothing. 

He made a quick gesture toward a break in 
the outline of the shore where the island swept 
around. "Beyond!" he said succinctly and 
she had no doubt as to his meaning. The tent 
he had put up where it could not be seen from 
the sea. But their boat — He looked at the 
little craft, a too distinct object on the sands. 
Those on a vessel skirting the shore could not 
fail to discover that incriminating bit of evi- 
dence with their glasses. And there was no way 
of getting rid of it. He could not destroy it 
with his bare hands. It was unsinkable. If he 
set it adrift, wind and sea would drive it 
straight back. 

301 



302 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

**They probably discovered our absence about 
daybreak and surmised correctly the direction 
the breeze would carry us," he muttered half 
bitterly. "We must go at once." These last 
words he spoke firmly. 

"But where?" Again it was Sonia Turgei- 
nov who questioned him. Betty Dalrymple 
remained silent; her eyes shone with a new 
inscrutable light; her cheek, though pale, had 
the warmth of a live pearl. She touched the 
sands with the tip of her §hoe. 

But he did not regard her, nor did he answer 
Sonia Turgeinov. Going to the tent, he bent 
over the basket of biscuits and hastily filled 
his pockets. Then, throwing a woman's heavy 
cloak over his arm, he stepped quickly to Miss 
Dalrymple's side. 

"Come," he said laconically. 

Her foot, Cinderella's for daintiness, ceased 
its motion ; she turned at once. Around her lips 
a strange little smile flitted but faded almost 
immediately. Save for her straightness and 
that proud characteristic poise of the head, 
she might have seemed, at that moment of 



AN UNEXPECTED OFFER 30;, 

emergency, a veritable Griselda for acquies- 
cence. He started to walk away, when — 

"What about me?" cried Sonia Turgeinov. 

*'You can come or you can stay," said Mr. 
Heatherbloom. "The chances are that the 
prince will see the boat, land and get yotu" 

"And if he doesn't?" 

"There are plenty of biscuits, and FU send 
back for you when I can." 

"That prospect is not very inviting," she 
demurred. "Suppose I elect not to risk it — 
to go with you ?" 

"It is for you to decide, and quickly," he 
said in a cold crisp tone. 

"You dismiss my fate bruskly, Monsieur," 
she returned. 

"There is no time to bandy words, Madam," 
he retorted warmly. "I am not oblivious to 
you — I trust I would not be to any woman — 
but every minute now is precious." 

"Of course!" An instant she looked at the 
girl and a spark appeared in the dark eyes. 
Then Sonia Turgeinov's features abruptly re- 
laxed and she waved her hand carelessly. "I 



304 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

have decided," she said in her old mannen 
"Go! My best adieus, Monsieur — Mademoi- 
selle." With a gay courtesy. "Farewell ! 
babes in the wood!" Her voice was once 
more mocking. They moved silently away 
but before they had gone far enough to dis- 
appear in the forest she suddenly ran toward 
them. "No, no!" she said in a different voice. 
"I have changed my mind. It is such a tiny 
thing, that boat — in the glare and shine. They 
might not see it, and then — " She shuddered^ 
"How frightfully lonesome ! — ^the terrible 
nights—" 

He made an impatient gesture. "After me, 
then! You, Miss Dalrymple, will come last'* 

"Ah, you think I am coming because I may 
wish to help them?" Sonia Turgeinov said 
quickly. 

"I intend to take no chances," he returned 
in the same tone. And the three moved on. 

He set a sharp pace; if there was need for 
haste at all it was now, at the beginning of 
their flight. They plunged deeper into the for- 
est; no one spoke; only the crackling under 



AN UNEXPECTED OFFER 305 

foot and certain wood sounds broke the still- 
ness. Unfortunately the soil was soft so that 
their footprints might be followed by any one 
versed in woodcraft At times they were 
forced to skirt unusually thick places, but in 
spite of these deviations Mr. Heatherbloom 
was enabled generally to keep to their course 
by consulting a small compass he had found 
in the boat. It was essential to maintain as 
straight a line as possible. People sometimes 
walked round and round in forests; he took 
no chance of that; better a moment lost now 
and then, while stopping to wait for the quiver^ 
ing pointer to settle, than returning, perhaps, 
to the very spot they had left. 

As thus they advanced, often he looked 
around to reassure himself that the young girl, 
in spite of the roughness of the way, yet fol- 
lowed. Once Sonia Turgeinov arrested that 
swift backward look; her own shone with 
curiosity. 

"How in heaven^s name did you do it, Mon- 
sieur?" she asked suddenly, drawing nearer 
"Get out of that cell, I mean. When last I 



3o6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

saw you on the ship, you were as securely fas- 
tened as a prisoner in the fortress at Peters- 
burg. Of course you must have had some one 
to help—" 

He answered coldly, recalling a promise to 
protect Francois. He could, however, and did, 
tell her the truth in this without involving the 
youth. "When the third officer, my jailer, 
came to the cell and released my hands — well, 
I did the best I could, surprised him, got the 
keys and left him there in my stead. A little 
Jap trick for handling men that I learned in 
San Francisco long ago," he added. 

Her dark eyes lingered on him not without 
a trace of admiration. "Mademoiselle is for- 
tunate, indeed, in her champion," she mur- 
mured. "And yet that does not explain the 
preparations for departure — ^the provisions in 
the boat— other little details. How came you 
by that compass, for example ?" 

"It explains all that will be explained." 
''Which means, once more, you do not trust 
me?" She shrugged. "Eh bienT And again 
they went on in silence. 



AN UNEXPECTED OFFER 307 

Toward noon, reaching a fringe of the for- 
est, they found before them a wide open space 
where the ground was higher and dry, but the 
walking more difficult. The grass, long and 
tenacious, twined snake-like around their an- 
kles ; they had to go more slowly, but reached, 
at length, the top of the eminence. Here Mr. 
Heatherbloom stopped. They ate their biscuit 
and rested, but only for a brief while. Scan- 
ning the distance, in the direction they had 
come, he suddenly discerned moving forms on 
the farthest edge of the open space — forms 
which advanced toward them. No doubt as 
to their purpose could be entertained; his ex- 
cellency had landed and was already in pur- 
suit. A smoldering fire leaped from Mr. 
Heatherbloom's eyes while rage that she should 
thus be driven harder filled his breast Fool! 
that he had not killed the prince when oppor- 
tunity had offered that night in the cabin. His 
clemency might — ^probably would — cost her 
dear. 

*'WeVe got to go on, and faster," said the 
young man. His hands were clenched; his 



3o8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

arms were stiff at his side. "Can you do it ?" 
he asked Betty Dalrymple. She answered; 
standing in a green recess, she had never ap- 
peared more beautiful to him than in that mo- 
ment of peril. Green and red things flashed 
behind her — tiny feathered creatures that shone 
like jewels. The dewdrops from the branches 
in sunless places were glistening brilliants in 
the gold of her hair. But he had no time to 
gaze. The figures were drawing nearer. 

"You used to be able to run, Betty. It seems 
as if it's all my fault" — ^hoarsely — "but you'll 
have to do so now." 

Again that ready response from her! Did 
she, in the excitement of the moment, call 
him by a Christian name not Horatio? He 
did not take cognizance of it ; neither did Sonia 
Turgeinov seem to. 

The latter spoke quickly: "I remain here." 

"Of course," said Mr. Heatherbloom, with 
a glance back toward the open space. 

She overlooked the significance or bitterness 
in his accent. "Keep to the right," she said 
swiftly. "Believe me or not. Til send them 



AN UNEXPECTED OFFER 309 

to the left. It's your only chance. Otherwise 
they would overtake you in an hour. Among 
the prince's men are Cossacks trained to feats 
of endurance." 

"You would do that?" He looked at her 
quickly. The dark eyes did not swerve from 
the gray ones. 

"Did I betray you on the boat?" said Sonia 
Turgeinov rather haughtily. 

"No," he conceded. 

"And yet; I knew you! You know that," 
she affirmed. 

'Yes ; you knew me." Slowly, 

^Did I tell his excellency who you were, 
when he had you a prisoner ?" she demanded. 

And — "No," he was obliged to say again. 

"See." She took from her breast a tiny 
cross. **I had that as a child. Would I kiss 
it, and~tell you a lie in the next breath?" He 
did not answer. "I have lived up to the letter 
of my contract with his excellency. It is at 
an eftd. Perhaps I am a little sorry for my 
awn part" — ^with a laugh slightly reckless — 
"or maybe" — ^with a flash of seriousness — "I 






3IO A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

have become, in the least, afraid. Your laws 
are very severe, and — I had not counted on 
mademoiselle's steadfast resistance to— ^mo ft 
Dieu! — a prince who had been considered ir- 
resistible — ^whose principality is larger than 
one of your states — ^who would have made 
her, in truth, a czaritza. I had fancied," in a 
rush of words, "the mad episode might end 
as it did in the prince's favorite Fire and 
Sword trilogy, with wedding-bells and rej^oic- 
ing." She paused abruptly. "I had also not 
counted on the all-important possibility that 
mademoiselle might have bestowed her heart 
on another — " 

"Madam!" It was Betty Dalrymple who 
spoke quickly. 

Sonia Turgeinov laughed maliciously. "Go," 
she said, "or" — almost fiercely — "I may change 
my mind." 

They went; Sonia Turgeinov turned and 
looked out over the open space. The approach- 
ing figures were now much nearer. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



STARLIGHT 



DUSK had begun to fall, but still two fig- 
ures went on through the forest — ^slowly, 
with obvious effort One turned often to the 
other, held back a branch, or proffered such 
service as he might over rough places, for Betty 
Dalrymple's movements were no longer those 
of a lithe wood-nymph; she had never felt so 
weary before. The first shades of twilight 
made it harder to distinguish their way amid 
intervening objects, and ooce an elastic bit 
of underbrush struck her sharply in the face. 
The blow smarted like the touch of a whip 
but' she only smiled faintly. The momentary 
sting spurred her on faster, until her foot 
caught and she stumbled and would have fallen 
except that Mr. Heatherbloom had turned at 
that moment and put out an arm. 

"Forgive me." His voice was full of con- 

311 



312 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

trition. "It has been brutal to make you go 
on like this, but I had to/' 

"It doesn't matter/* The slender form slid 
from him over-quickly. "You, too, must be 
very tired," she said with breath coming fast. 

He glanced swiftly back; listened "We'll 
rest here," he commanded. "We've got to. I 
should have stopped before, but" — ^the words 
came in a harsher staccato— "I dared not." 

"I'll be all right in a few moments," she an- 
swered, resting on a fallen log, "and then — " 

"No, no," he said in a tone of finality. 
"After all, there is small likelihood they'll find 
us now. Besides, it will soon be too dark to 
go on. Fortunately, the night is warm, and 
I've got this cloak for you." 

"And for yourself?" Her voice was very 
low and quiet, or perhaps it seemed so because 
here, in the little recess in the great wood, the 
hush was most pronounced. 

"Me?" he laughed. "You seem to forget 
I'm one of the happy brotherhood that just 
drop down anywhere. Shouldn't know what 
to do with a silk eiderdown if I had one." 



STARLIGHT 313 

His gaiety sounded rather forced. She was 
silent and the quietude seemed oppressive. The 
girl leaned back to a great tree trunk and 
looked up. The sky wore an ocher hue 
against which the branches quivered in zig- 
zags of blackness. Mr. Heatherbloom moved 
apart to watch, but still he neither saw nor 
heard sign of any one drawing near. The sad 
ocher merged into a somber blue; the stars 
came out, one by one, then in shoals. She 
could hardly see him now, so fast had the trop- 
ical night descended, but she heard his step 
returning. 

"Quite certain there's no danger," he reas- 
sured her. "Went back a way." 

"Thank you," she said. And added : "For 
all." 

''Betty." The stars twinkled madly. Pul- 
sating waves seemed to vibrate in the air. A 
moment he continued to stare into the dark- 
ness, then again turned. He had not seen how 
the girl's hand had suddenly closed, and her 
slender form Had swayed. As restlessly he 
resumed his sentinel's duty, Sonia Turgeinov's 



314 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

last words once more recurred to hiHL How 
often had he thought of them that long after- 
noon, and wondered who was the one the 
young girl would now shortly be free to turn 
to? There had been many in the past who 
had sought her favor. Perhaps the unknown 
was one of these; or, more likely, one of the 
newer many that had arisen, no doubt, since, 
in the gayer larger world of New York, or 
the continent. Betty Dalrymple's manner at 

the Russian woman's words indicated that the 
latter had — ^how Mr. Heatherbloom could not 

imagine — ^hit upon a great kernel of truth. 
Again, in fancy, he saw on her cheek that swift 
flush of warm blood. Lucky, thrice lucky, the 
man who had caused itl Softly Mr. Heather- 
bloom moved nearer. 

Was she sleeping? He, himself, felt too 
fagged to sleep. Like Psyche, in the glade, she 
was covered all with starlight. He ventured 
closer, bent over; the widely opened eyes 
looked suddenly into his. 

*The woman told me you had nothing to do 
with it — ^that plot of hers and the prince," she 



STARLIGHT 315 

said slowly. "I know now why you were on 
the boat, and — all the rest — ^what it meant for 
me, your being there." 

"You know, then" — embarrassed — "the aw- 
ful mess I made of it all^ — '' 

"You dared a great deal," she said softly. 

"And came an awful cropper!" 

She did not answer directly. "At first 
Francois was most reluctant to risk going with 
me," she went on. "I thought it odd, at the 
time, he should change so suddenly, become 
so brave. Now I understand, at least, a little 
— in a general way. I have been over-quick to 
think evil of you, ever since we met again. 
Perhaps, in the past, too" — slowly — "I have 
been—" 

"Betty!" he cried uneasily, and seemed 
about once more to move away, when — 

"Don't go," she said. "FU not talk if you 
' command me not to. You've been the master 
to-day, you know," with subtle accent. 

"Have I?" His voice showed evidence of 
distress. "I didn't really mean — it was neces- 
sary," he ended firmly. 



3i6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

*'Of course it was," said the girl. Her ac- 
cent conveyed no note of displeasure. Profile- 
wise he saw her face now — ^the young moon 
beyond. "Don't think I'm blaming you. I'm 
not quite so hard, perhaps, as I once was." 
Mr. HeatherUoom stood back a little farther 
in the shadow. "Maybe, my poor little stand- 
ard of judgment — " she stopped. "I have been 
heedless, heartless, perhaps — " 

"You !" he exclaimed. "You !" There was 
only unfaltering adoration in his tone — faidi, 
unchanged and unchangeable. 

She spoke with a little catch in her voice: 
"Oh, I haven't cared. I did flirt with the 
prince; he accused me of that He was right 
What did it matter to me, if I made others 
suffer? I haven't always had so good a time 
as I seemed to — " There was a ring of pas- 
sion in her tone now. "What happened ?" she 
said, turning on him swiftly. "What has hap- 
pened? I want to know all — " 

"You mean about the prince ?" 

"I know all I want to know about him," 
scornfully. "I mean" — her slender figure bent 



STARLIGHT 317 

toward Mr. Heatherbloom — *'youl Whai: has 
taken place, and why has it ? What does it all 
mean ? Don't you understand ?" 

He drew in his breath slowly. 

*Tell me/' she said, still tensely poised, her 
eyes insistent in the shadow of her hair. 

"Miss Dalrymple — Betty — " he half stam- 
mered. 

"I want to know," she repeated. There was 
an inexorable demand in her gaze. Mr. 
Heatherbloom straightened. The ordeal? — it 
must be met — ^though that box of Pandora 
were best left unopened. He could not refuse 
her anything; this she asked of him was not 
easy to grant, however. 

Where shall I begin?" he said uncertainly. 
You know a great deal. There doesn't seem 
much worth talking about." 

*'Begin where we left oflf — " 

"Our boy-and-girl engagement? You broke 
it. Quite right of youl" She stirred slightly. 
"It was, at best, but a perfunctory business, 
half arranged by our parents to keep the mil- 
lions together — " 



4( 
U 



3i8 A MAN AND fflS MOXEY 

^Yoo never Uamed me a Iittl^ tlien?^ site 



you?" wooderinglj. "Yoa were 
as far from me as a star. \Vhat you thought 
of me, you tcld me; it was all right — true 
stuff. Though it sank in like a Made. I was 
nothing— worse than nothing. A rich man's 
son! — ^a commonplace tj'pe. A good fellow 
some called me at Monte Cario, Paris, else- 
where." He paused. A moment he seemed 
another personality — that other one. She saw 
it anew, caught a glimpse of it like a flash on 
a mirror; then he seemed to relapse farther 
back into the shadow. "I really don't want 
to bore you," he said perfunctorily, raising an 
uncertain hand to the stray lock on his fore- 
head. 

"You aren't — doing that. Go on." Her 
eyes were full of questions. "After I saw you 
that last time" — he nodded — "you disappeared. 
No one ever heard anything of you again, or 
knew what had become of yott" 

"As no one cared," he said with a short 
laugh, "what did it matter?" 



STARLIGHT 319 

"You were lost to the world — ^had vanished 
completely," she went on. "Sometimes I 
thought — feared you were dead." Her voice 
changed. . 

"Feared?" he repeated. "Ah, yes! You 
did not want me to go out like that." 

"No," she said slowly. "Not like that" 

He looked at her comprehendingly ; in spite 
of the bitter passionate repudiation of him, 
she had been a little in earnest — had cared, in 
the least, how he went down. 

"Why," he said, with a forced smile, "I 
didn't think you'd bother to give the matter a 
thought." 

"You had some purpose?" she persisted, 
studying him. "I see — seem to feel it now. 
It all — ^you — ^were incomprehensible. I mean, 
when I saw you again that first time, in New 
York, after so long — " 

"It was funny, wasn't it?" he said with 
rather strained lightness. "The Chariot of 
Concord — What's the Matter with Mother? 
— the gaping or jibing crowd — ^then you, go- 
ing by—" 



320 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

Her eyelids drooped; he stood now erect 
and motionless; in spite of the determination 
to maintain that matter-of-fact pose, visions ap- 
peared momentarily in his eyes. The glamour 
of the instant he had referred to caught him. 
AH he had felt then at the unexpected sight 
of her — ^beautiful, far-away — returned to him. 
She was near now, but still immeasurably dis- 
tant. He pulled himself together; he hadn't 
explained very much yet. He was forced to 
go on; her eyes once more seemed to draw 
the story from him. 

"Yes; I had some purpose in going away 
like that. The idea came to me at the sana- 
torium, when I was about 'all in*. They'd 
managed to keep the drugs and the drink from 
me, and one day I seemed to wake up and 
realize I hadn't ever really lived. Just been 
a tail-ender who had *gone the pace*. Hadn't 
even had a beginning. Was it too late to start 
over again? Probably." His voice came in 
crisp accents. "But it was a last chance — a 
feeble one — ^ straw to the drowning," he 



«- 



li' 



STARLIGHT 321 

laughed. "That sounds absurd to you but I 
don't know how to explain it better." 

No; it doesn't sound absurd," she said. 

The idea of mine? — how to carry it out? 
Ways and means were not hard to find. I 
went to" — ^he mentioned a name — "an old 
friend of my father's. He thought I was a 
fool," bruskly, "but in the end he approved^ 
or seemed to. Anyhow, I persuaded him to 
take all my bonds, securities and the rest of 
(for me) cursed stuff. At the end of a cer- 
tain time, if I wanted back the few millions I 
hadn't yet run through, he was to give them 
to me, minus commissions, wage, etc." 

"You mean," said the girl, "that was the 
way you took to go back to the beginning, as 
you call it ?" Her eyes were like stars. "You 
practically gave away all your money so as to 
start by yourself." 

"How could I start with it?" he asked, with 
a faint smile. "Don't you see, Betty" — in a 
momentary eagerness he forgot himself — 
there couldn't be any compromising? Be- 



ef 



322 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

sides, it came to me — ^you will laugh" — ^she 
did not laugh — "that some day, somewhere 
else, if not here, I'd have to make that begin- 
ning, to be something myself. Remember that 
old Hindu fellow with a red turban who sat 
on your front lawn, beneath the palms, and 
had the women gathered around him in a kind 
of hypnotic state? He said something like 
that — I thought him an old fakir at the time. 
He used a lot of flowery language, but I guess, 
boiled down, it meant start at the bottom of 
the ladder. Build yourself up, the way my 
father did," with a certain wistful pride. "You 
remember him?" 

Her head moved. "Fine Jooking, wasn't 
he?" ruminatively. "He got there with his 
hands and brains, and honestly. While I 
hadn't ever used either. I hope," he broke off, 
"all this doesn't sound like. preaching." 

"No," she said. 

An instant his gaze lingered on her. "You're 
sleepy now," he spoke suddenly. 

"No, I am not. You found it a little hard, 
at first?" 



STARLIGHT 323 

"A little. When a man is relaxed and the 
reaction is on him — " He stopped. 

"Tell me— tell me all," she breathed. "Every 
bit of it, Harry." 

His lips twitched. To hear his almost for- 
gotten name spoken again by her! A moment 
he seemed to waver. Temptation of violet 
eyes; wonder of the rapt face! Oh, that he 
might catch her in his arms, claim her anew; 
this time for all time ! But again he mastered 
himself and went on succinctly, as quickly as 
possible. Between the lines, however, the girl 
might read the record of struggles which was 
very real to her. He had reverted "to the be- 
ginning" with poor tools and most scanty expe- 
rience. And there was that other fight that 
made it a double fight, the fiercer conflict with 
self. Hunger, privation, want, which she might 
divine, though he did not speak of them, be- 
came as lesser details. She listened enrapt 

"I guess that's about all," he said at last. 

She continued to look at him, his features, 
clear-cut in the white light. "And you didn't 
ever really go back — ^to undo it all ?" 



324 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Once I did go back to Trisco" — he told her 
of the relapse with cold candor — *'out at heels, 
and ready to give up. I wanted the millions. 
They were gone." 

"You mean, lost?" 

"Yes; he had speculated; was dead. Poor 
fellow!" 

"You say that? And you have never tried 
to get any of the money back?" 

"Fortunately, he died bankrupt," said Mr. 
Heatherbloom calmly. 

"And you failed to show the world he was 
a — ^thief ?" Something in the word seared her. 

"What was the use? He left a wife and 
children. Besides, he really served me by 
what the world would call robbing me. I had 
to continue at the beginning. It was the foot 
of the ladder, all right," he added. 

Her face showed no answering gaiety. 
"You are going to amount to a great deal some 
day," she said. "I think very few of us in 
this world find ourselves," she added slowly. 



STARLIGHT 325 

"Perhaps some don't have to hunt so hard 
as others/' observed Mr. Heatherbloom. 

"Don't they?" Her lips wore an odd little 
smile. 

He threw back his shoulders. "Good night, 
now. You are very tired, I know/' 

She put out her hand. He took it — ^how 
soft and small and cold! The seconds were 
throbbing hours ; he couldn't release it, at once. 
The little fingers grew warmer — ^warmer in his 
palm — ^their very pulsations seemed throbbing 
with his. Suddenly he dropped her hand. 

"Good night," he said quickly. 

He remembered he was nothing to her — ^that 
they would soon part for ever. 

"Good night," she answered softly. 

Then silence. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



AN EXPLANATION 



MORN came. They had heard or seen 
nothing of the prince and his men. Mr. 
Heatherbloom walked back for a cold plunge 
in a stream that had whispered not far from 
their camping spot throughout the night. He 
and Betty Dalrymple breakfasted together on 
an old log; it wasn't much of a meal — a few 
crackers and crumbs that were left — ^but nei- 
ther appeared to mind the meagemess of the 
fare. With much gaiety (the dawn seemed to 
have brought with it a special allegrezza of its 
own) she insisted upon a fair and equitable 
division of their scanty store, even to the ap- 
portioning of the crumbs into two equal piles. 
Then, prodigal-handed for a castaway who 
knew not where her next meal might come 
from, she tossed a bit or two to the birds, and 
was rewarded by a song. 

326 



AN EXPLANATION 327 

All this seemed very wonderful to Mr. 
Heatherbloom ; there had never before been 
such a breakfast ; compared to it, the dejeuner 
h la fourchette of a Durand or a Foyot was as 
starvation fare. It was surprising how beauti- 
ful the dark places of the night before looked 
now; daylight metamorphosed the spot into a 
sylvan fairyland. Mr. Heatherbloom could 
have lingered there indefinitely. The soft 
moss wooed him, somewhat aweary with 
world contact; she filled his eyes. The faint 
shadowy lines beneath hers which he had 
noted at the dawn had now vanished ; the same 
sun-god that ordered the forest flowers to lift 
their gay heads commanded the rosebuds to 
unfold their bright petals on her cheeks. Her 
lips were as red berries ; the cobwebs, behind, 
alight with sunshine, gleamed no more than 
the tossed golden hair. She had striven as best 
she tnight with the last, not entirely to her own 
satisfaction but completely to Mr. Heather- 
bloom's. His untutored masculine sense rather 
gloried in the unconventionality of a super- 
fluous tangle or two; he found her most 



328 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

charming with a few rents in her gown from 
branch or brier. They seemed to establish a 
new bond of camaraderie, to make blithe appeal 
to his nomadic soul. It was as if fate had di- 
rected her footsteps until they had touched 
and lingered on the outer circle of his vaga- 
bondage. Both seemed to have forgotten all 
about his excellency. 

"Rested?" queried Mr. Heatherbloom. 

"Quite," she answered. There was no trace 
of weariness in her voice. "And you?" 

"Ditto," he laughed. Then, more gravely, 
"You see, I fell asleep while watching," he 
confessed. 

"I'm glad." 

"You'd make a lenient commanding officer. 
Shall we go on?" 

"Where?" 

"I don't exactly know," he confessed. 

"That's lovely." Then, tentatively^ "It's 
nice here." 

"Fine," he assented. There was no hard- 
ness in the violet eyes as they rested on him. 
He did not pause to analyze the miracle; he 



AN EXPLANATION 329 

only accepted it. A moment he yielded to the 
temptation of the lotus-eater and continued to 
luxuriate in the lap of Arcadia. Then he be- 
stirred himself uneasily; it was not sufficient 
just to breathe in the golden gladness of the 
moment. "Yes; it's fine," he repeated, "only 
you see — " 

"Of course!" she said with a little sigh, and 
rose. "/ see you are going to be very domi- 
neering, the way you were yesterday." 

"I? Domineering?" 

"Weren't you?" she demanded, looking at 
him from beneath long lashes. 

"Fm sure I didn't intend — " He stopped for 
she was laughing at him. They went on and her 
mood continued to puzzle him. Never had he 
seen her so blithe, so gay. She waved her hand 
back at the woodland spot. "Good-by," she 
said. 

Then they came upon the little town sudden- 
ly — so suddenly that both appeared bewildered. 
Only a hillock had separated them from the 
sight of it the night before. They looked 
and looked. It lay beneath an upward sweep 



330 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

of land, in a cosy indenture of a great circle 
that swept far around and away, fringed with 
cocoanut trees. Small wisps or corkscrews of 
smoke defiled the blue of the sky; a wharf, 
with a steamer at the end, obtruded abruptly 
upon the curve of the shore. Mr. Heather- 
bloom regarded the boat — a link from Arcadia 
to the mundane world. He should have been 
glad but he didn't seem overwhelmed at the 
sight ; he stood very still. He hardly felt her 
hand on his sleeve ; the girl's eyes were full of 
sparkles. 

"What luck!'* he said at length, his voice 
low and somewhat more formal. 

"Isn't it?" she answered. And drawing in 
her breath — "I can scarcely believe it." 

"It's there all right." He spoke slowly. 
"Come." And they went down. A colored 
worker in the fields stared at them, but Betty 
nodded gaily, and asked what town it was and 
the name of the island. He told them, grow- 
ing wonderment in his gaze. How could they 
be here and not know that; where had they 
come from ? To him they were as mysterious 



AN EXPLANATION 331 

as two visitants from Mars. Regardless of the 
effect they produced on the dusky toiler they 
walked on. The island proved to be larger 
than they had thought and commercially im- 
portant They had, the day before, but crossed 
a neck of it 

Soon now they reached the verge of the 
town and stood on its main artery of traffic ; the 
cobblestone pavement resoimded with the rat- 
tling of carts and rough native vehicles. At a 
curb stood a dilapidated public conveyance to 
which was attached a horse of harmoniously 
antique aspect. Miss Dalrymple got in and Mr. 
Heatherbloom took, his place at her side. 

"The cable office," said the girl briefly, 
whereupon a lad of mixed ancestry began to 
whack energetically the protuberant ribs of 
the drowsy steed. It woke him and they clat- 
tered down the narrow way. Mr. Heather- 
bloom leaned back, his gaze straight ahead, but 
Betty Dalrympie looked around with interest 
at the people of divers shades and hues, and, 
for the most part, in costumes of varying de- 
grees of picturesque originality. After having 



332 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

narrowly escaped running over a small propor- 
tion of the juvenile colored population over- 
flowing from odd little shops and houses, 
they reached the transportable zinc shed that 
served as a cable office. Here Miss Dal- 
rymple indited rapidly a most voluminous mes- 
sage, paid the clerk in a businesslike manner, 
and, unmindful of his amazed expression as 
he read what she had written, tranquilly re- 
entered the carriage. 

"Miss Van Rolsen will be relieved when 
she gets that," observed Mr. Heatherbloom 
mechanically. "It'll be a happy moment for 
her," meditatively. 

"And won't she be gladder still when she 
sees us ?" answered the girl gaily. 

The use of the plural slightly disconcerted 
Mr. Heatherbloom for the moment, but he dis- 
missed it as an inadvertence. "Where now?" 
he asked. 

"Where do you think?" with dancing eyes. 
"Shopping, of course. Fortunately I drew 
plenty of money before starting for Califor- 



ma. 



AN EXPLANATION 333 

An hour or so later Mr. Heatherbloom sat 
with parcels in his arms and bundles galore 
around him. He accepted the situation g^race- 
f uUy ; indeed, displayed an almost tender solic- 
itude for those especial packages she herself 
handed him. 

"What next?" She had at length exhausted 
the somewhat limited resources of the thor- 
oughfare. 

"Drive to the best hotel/' was her command. 
She laughed at the picture he made, or at some- 
thing in her own thoughts. She had uncon- 
sciously assumed toward him a manner in the 
least proprietary, but if he noticed he did not 
resent it. They went faster; her voice was a 
low thread of music running through an ac- 
companiment of crashing dissonances. She 
wore a hat now — ^the best she could find. He 
considered it most "fetching", but her thrilling 
derision overwhelmed his expression of opin- 
ion. Though the way was so rough that they 
were occasionally thrown rather violently one 
against another, they arrived in high spirits at 
their destination, Mr. Heatherbloom having 



334 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

performed the commendable feat of preserv- 
ing intact the parcels and bundles en route. In 
the "best hotel" they were given two rooms 
overlooking a courtyard redolent with or- 
chids. The girl nodded a brief farewell to him 
from the threshold of her room. 

"In about an hour, please, come back." 

He did, brushed up and with shoes shined, as 
presentable as possible. She wore the same 
gown, but the sundry rents were mended and 
there had occurred other changes he could 
divine rather than define. He brought her in- 
formation — not agreeable, he said. He was 
very sorry, but the next boat for the United 
States would not call at the island for a fort- 
night. He expected her to show dismay, but 
she received the news with commendable forti- 
tude, if not resignation. 

"I can cable aunt every day — so there can be 
no cause for worry — and she will only be the 
more pleased when we actually do arrive." 

Again the plural! And once more that 
prophetic jMCture which included Mr. Heather- 
bloom within the pale of the venerable and 



AN EXPLANATION 335 

austere Miss Van Rolsen's jubilation. He 
looked embarrassed but said nothing. During 
the hour of his exclusion from Miss Dalrym- 
ple's company* he had sallied forth on a small 
but necessary financial errand of his own. 
Francois had- placed in the basket of biscuits 
a revolver, and this latter Mr. Heatherbloom, 
rightfully construing it as his own personal 
property in lieu of the weapon his excellency 
had deprived him of, had exchanged for a bit 
of cardboard and a greenback. The last named, 
reinforced by the small amount Mr. Heather- 
bloom had left upon reaching the Nevski and 
of which the prince had not deprived him, 
would relieve his necessities for the moment. 
After that ? Well, he would take up the prob- 
lem presently ; he had no time for it now. This 
day, at least, should be consecrated to Betty 
Dalrymple. 

He had an inkling that on the morrow he 
would see less of her; the girl's story would 
gtt around. The American consul would call 
and tender his services. The governor, too. 
Sir Charles Somebody, whose palatial resi- 



336 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

dence looked down on the town from the side 
of the hill, might be expected to become offi- 
cially and paternally interested. The little 
cable office, despite rules and regulations, could 
not long retain its prodigious secret ; moreover 
Mr. Heatherbloom, in an absent-minded mo- 
ment, had inscribed Miss Dalrymple's name on 
the register, or visitors' book. He recalled how 
the eyes of the old mammy, the proprietress, 
had fairly rolled with curiosity. No ; he would 
not be permitted long to have her to himself, 
he ruminated; better make the most of his op- 
portunity now. Besides, his present monetary 
position forbade his presence for more than a 
day or two at the "best hotel" ; its rates were 
for him distinctly prohibitive. The exigencies 
of financial differences would soon separate 
them ; she could draw on Miss Van Rolsen for 
thousands; he had but five dollars and twelve 
cents — or was it thirteen ? — to his name. 

He kept these reflections, however, to' him- 
self and continued to bask in the sunshine of 
a fool's paradise. They rode, walked and ex- 
plored. They went to the fruit and the flower 



AN EXPLANATION 337 

maricet He bought her a great bunch of flow- 
ers, and she not only took it but wore it For 
a time he stepped on air; his flowers consti- 
tuted a fine splash of color on the girl's gown. 
Her heart beat beneath them ; the thought was 
as wine. 

"Shall we?" They had partaken of tea (or 
nectar) in a small shop, and now she paused be- 
fore that most modern manifestation of a rest- 
less civilization, a begilded, over-ornamented 
nickelodeon. "Think of finding one of them 
way off here ! Just as at home !" 

"More extraordinary your wanting to go 
in!" he laughed. 

"Why not ? It will be a 1 experience." 

They entered; the place was half filled and 
they took seats toward the back. There were 
films and songs of the usual character ; it was 
very gay. Gurgles of merriment from Creoles 
and darkies were heard on all sides. They, too, 
yielded freely, gladly to its infection. Happy 
Creoles! happy darkies! happy Betty Dalrym- 
ple and Horatio Heatherbloom — ^heiress and 
outcast ! There is a democracy in laughter ; yon 



338 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

darky smiled at Miss Dalrymple, while Mr. 
Heatherbloom laughed with her, with them, 
and the world. For was she not near, right 
there by his side? To Mr. Heatherbloom the 
tinsel palace had become a temple of felicity 
and wonder. Suddenly he started and his face 
changed. 

•'The Great Diamond Robbery/' one of the 
films, was in progress, and there, depicted on 
the canvas, amid many figures, he saw himsdf, 
the most pronounced in that realistic group. 
And Betty Dalrymple saw the semblance of 
him, also, for she gave a slight gasp and sat 
more erect. In the moving picture he was run- 
ning away from a crowd. 

"Shall— shall we go?'' The face of the 
flesh-and-blood Mr. Heatherbloom was very 
red ; he looked toward the door. 

She did not answer ; her eyes continued bent 
straight before her, and she saw the whole 
quick scene of the drama unfolded. Then the 
street became cleared, the fleeing figure had 
turned a corner as an automobile, not engaged 
for the performance, came around it and went 



AN EXPLANATION 339 

by. A big car — ^her own — ^she was in it She 
caught, like a flash on the canvas^ a glimpse 
of herself looking around ; then the scene came 
to an end. Betty Dalrymple laughed — sl little 
hysterically. 

"Oh," she said. "Oh, oh!" 

He became, if possible, redder. 

"Oh," she repeated. Then, "Why"— with 
eyes full of mingled tragedy and comedy — 
"did you not explain it all that day, when — ^" 

Of course she knew even as she spoke why 
he could not, or would not. 

"You had cause to think so many things," 
he murmured. 

"But that! How — how strange! I saw 
you, and — " 

He laughed. "And the manager told me I 
was a Votten bad' actor! Those were his 
words ; not very elegant But I believed him, 
until now — " 

"Say something harsh and hard to me," she 
whispered, almost fiercely. "I deserve it." 

The violet eyes were passionate. "Betty l" 
he exclaimed wonderingly. 



340 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Do you call that harsh?" she demanded 
mockingly. "You — you should be cross with 
me — scold me — ^punish me — " 

"Well," he said calmly, "you haven't be- 
lieved that, lately, anyhow." 

"No ; I just set it aside as something incom- 
prehensible, not to be thought of, or to be con- 
sidered any more. I believed in you, with all 
my soul, since last night — a good deal before 
that, yes, yes ! — in my innermost heart ! You 
believe me, don't you?" 

He answered, he hardly knew what Some 
one was singing Put on Your Old Gray Bon- 
net. Her shoulder touched his arm and lin- 
gered there. "Oh, my dear!" she was saying 
to herself. The pianist banged; the vocalist 
bawled, while Mr. Heatherbloom sat in ecstasy. 



- 1 



CHAPTER XXV 



GAIETIES 



THEY took her away the next day. The 
governor — Sir Charles Somebody — ^had 
heard of her and came and claimed her. His 
lady — portly, majestic — arrived with him. 
Their carriage was the finest on the island and 
their horses were the best. The coachman and 
footman were covered with the most approved 
paraphernalia and always constituted an unend- 
ing source of wonder and admiration for the 
natives. The latter gathered in front of the 
best hotel on this occasion ; they did not quite 
know what was taking place, but the sight of 
the big carriage there drew them about like 
flies. 

Mr. Heatherbloom did not linger to specu- 
late or to survey. He had seen but not spoken 
to Miss Dalrymple that morning; she had 
smiled at him across space, behind orchids. A 

341 



342 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

moment or two he had sat dreaming how fine 
it would be to live for ever in such a courtyard, 
with Betty Dalrymple's face on the other side, 
Ihen the hubbub below disturbed and dispelled 
his reflections. He went down to investigate 
Und to retreat. Sir Charles and his lady were 
in the hall; they seemed to charge the entire 
hostelry with their presence. Mr. Heather- 
bloom walked contemplatively out and down 
the street. 

His mind, with a little encouragement, would 
have flitted back to courtyards and orchids, 
but he forced it along less fanciful lines. Mun- 
niane considerations were imperative and court- 
yards were a luxury of the rich. He calculated 
that, after paying his bill at the best hotel, he 
wouldn't have much more than half a dollar, or 
two English shillings, left. The situation de- 
manded calm practical reflection ; he strove to 
bestow upon it the necessary measure of or- 
derly thinking. Yesterday, with its nickelo- 
deon, or temple of wonder, was yesterday ; to- 
day, with its problems, was to-day. He had 
lingered in the happy valley, or kingdom of 



GAIETIES 343 

Micomicon, but the carriage was before the 
door — ^the golden chariot had come to bear 
away the beautiful princess. 

Mr. Heatherbloom asked for employment at 
the wharf and got it. The supercargo of the 
boat, loading there, had been indulging, not 
wisely but too well, in "green swizzles", an 
insidious drink of the country, and, when last 
seen was oblivious to the world. A red-haired 
mate, with superfluous utterance, informed the 
applicant he could come that afternoon and 
temporarily essay the delinquent one's duties, 
checking up the bagp of merchandise and ba- 
nanas the natives were bringing aboard, and 
otherwise making himself useful. Mr. Heath- 
erbloom tendered his thanks and departed. 

He wandered aimlessly for a while, but the 
charm of the town had vanished; he gazed 
with no interest upon quaint bits most attract- 
ive yesterday, and stolidly regarded now those 
happy faces he had liked so much but a short 
time before. He shook himself ; this would not 
do ; but the work would soon cure him of vain 
imaginings. 



344 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

He returned to the hotel and settled with the 
landlady. Betty Dalrymple was gone. Of 
course, there could be no denying Sir Charles 
and his lady; one of the young girl's place and 
position in the world could not, with reason 
or good grace, refuse the governor's hospital- 
ity. Mr. Heatherbloom was hardly a suitable 
chaperon. But she had left a hasty and alto- 
gether charming note for him which he read 
the liist few moments he spent in the court- 
yard room. "Come soon;" that was the sub- 
stance of it. What more could mortal have 
asked? Mr. Heatherbloom gazed at an empty 
window where he had last seen her (had 
they been there only twenty- four hours?), 
then he took a bit of painting on ivory from 
his pocket and wrapped the message around it 
Before noon he had engaged cheap but neat 
lodgings at the home of an old negro woman. 

Several days passed. After waiting in vain 
for him to call at the governor's mansion, 
Betty Dalrymple drove herself to the hotel; 
here she learned that he had gone without leav- 
ing an address ; a message from Sir Charles for 



GAIETIES 345 

Mr. Heatherbloom, formally offering to put 
the latter up at government house, had not 
been delivered. Mr. Heatherbloom had failed 
to call for his mail. 

''Really, my dear, such solicitude!" mur- 
mured the governor's wife, when Miss Dalrym- 
ple came out of the hotel. "An ordinary secret- 
service man, too." 

"Oh, no ; not an ordinary one," said the girl 
a little confusedly. She had not taken the lib- 
erty of speaking of Mr. Heatherbloom's pri- 
vate affairs to her august hosts. His true 
name, or his story, were his to reveal when or 
where he saw fit. In taking her into his confi- 
dence he had sealed her lips until such time 
as she had his permission to speak. 

"Well, don't worry about the man," ob- 
served the elder lady rather loftily. "Ther^ has 
been a big reward offered, of course, and he'll 
appear in due time to claim it." 

"He'll not," began Betty Dalrymple indig- 
nantly, and stopped. 

She had been obliged to explain in some way 
Mr. Heatherbloom's presence, and the subter- 



346 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

fuge he had himself employed toward her on 
the Nevski had been the only one that occurred 
to her. A brave secret-service officer who had 
aided her — that's what Mr. Heatherbloom was 
to the governor and his better half. Hence 
the distinct formality of Sir Charles' note to 
Mr. Heatherbloom, indited at Miss Dalrym- 
ple's special request and somewhat against the 
good baronet's own secret judgment A police 
agent may be valiant as a lion, but he is not a 
' gentleman. 

Something of this axiomatic truth the ex- 
cellent hosts strove to instill by means, more 
or less subtle, in the mind of their yot^ig guest ; 
but she clung with odd tenacity to her own 
ingenuous point of view. Whereupon Sir 
Charles figuratively shrugged. Reprehensible 
democracy of the new world! She, with the 
perversity of American womankind, actually 
spoke of, and, no doubt, desired to treat the fel- 
low as an equal. 

She found him one morning, a day or two 
later. She came down to the wharf, alone, 
and on foot. He held a note-book and pencil. 



GAIETIES 347 

but that he had not been above lending physi- 
cal assistance, on occasion, to the natives bear- 
ing bags and other merchandise, was evident 
from his hands which were grimy as a steve- 
dore's. His shirt was open at the throat, and 
his face, too, bore marks of toil. Betty Dal- 
rymple stepped impetuously toward him; she 
looked as fresh as a flower, and held out a 
hand gloved in immaculate white. 

"Dare I?" he laughed. 

"If you don't!" Her eyes dared him not to 
take it. 

He looked at the hand, such a delicate thing, 
and seemed still in the least uncertain ; then his 
fingers closed on it 

"You see I managed to find you," she said. 
**Who is that man who stares so ?" 

"That," answered Mr. Heatherbloom smil- 
ing, "is my boss." 

"Well," she observed, "I don't like his face." 

"Some of the darkies he's knocked down 
share, I believe, your opinion," he laughed 
"Excuse me a moment." And Mr. Heather- 
bloom stepped to the dumfounded person in 



348 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

question, handed him the note-book and pencil, 
with a request to keep tab for a moment, and 
then returned to the girl. "Now, I'm at your 
command," he said with a smile. 

"Suppose we take a walk?" she suggested. 
"We can talk better if we do." 

A moment Mr. Heatherbloom wavered. 
"Sorry," he then said, "but IVe promised 
to stick by the job. You see the old tub sails 
to-morrow for South America and it'll be a 
task to get her loaded before night. Some of 
the hands, as well as the supercargo, have been 
bowled over by fire-water." 

"I see." There was a strained look about 
her lips. Before them heavily laden negroes 
and a few sailors passed and repassed. The 
burly red-headed mate often looked at her; 
amazement and curiosity were depicted on his 
features; he almost forgot the duties Mr. 
Heatherbloom had, for a brief interval, thrust 
upon him. Betty Dalrymple, however, had 
ceased to observe him ; he, the others, no longer 
existed for her. She saw only Mr. Heather- 
bloom now ; what he said, she knew he meant ; 



GAIETIES 349 

she realized with an odd thrill of mingled ad- 
miration and pain that even she could not cause 
him to change his mind. He would "stick to 
his job", because he had said he would. 

"I'm interrupting, I fear," she said, a feel- 
ing of strange humility sweeping over her. 
"When is your day's work done ?" 

"About six, I expect." 

"The governor gives a ball for me to-night," 
she said. 

"Excellent. All the elite of the port will 
be there, and," with slow meditative accent, "I 
can imagine how you'll look !" 

"Can you?" she asked, bending somewhat 
nearer. 

"Yes." His gaze was straight ahead. 

The white glove stole toward the black hand. 
"Why don't you come?" 

"I?" He stared. 

"Yes; the governor has sent you an invita- 
tion. He thinks you a secret-service officer." 

Mr. Heatherbloom continued to look at her; 
then he glanced toward the boat. Suddenly his 
hand closed ; he hardly realized the white glove 



3SO A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

was in it. "FU do it, Betty," he exclaimed. 
"That is> if I can. And — there may be a way. 
Yes; there will be." ^ 

"You mean, you may be able to rent them ?" 
With a sparkle in her glance. 

"Exactly," he answered gaily, recklessly. 

Both laughed. Then her expression changed ; 
she suppressed an exclamation, but gently 
withdrew her hand. 

"How many dances will you give me, 
Betty ?" He had not even noticed that he had 
hurt her ; his voice was low and eager. 

"Ask and see," she said merrily, and went. 
But outside the shed, she stretched her crushed 
fingers; he was very strong; he had spoiled a 
new pair of gloves ; she did not, however, seem 
greatly to mind. As for Mr. Heatherbloom, 
for the balance of the day he plunged into his 
task with the energy of an Antaeus. 

Sir Charles regarded rather curiously that 
night one of his guests who arrived late. Mr. 
Heatherbloom's evening garments were not a 
Poole fit, and his white gloves, though white 



GAIETIES 351 

enough, had obviously been used and cleaned 
often. But the host observed, also, that Mr. 
Heatherbloom held himself well, said just the 
right thing to the hostess, and moved through 
the assemblage with quite the proper poise. He 
didn't look bored, neither did he appear over- 
impressed by the almost palatial elegance of the 
ball-room. He even managed to suppress any 
outward signs of elation at the sight of Miss 
Dalrymple with whom he had but the oppor- 
tunity for a word or two, at first. Naturally 
the center of attraction, the young girl found 
herself forced to dance often. He, too, whirled 
around with others, just whom, he did not 
know ; he dipped into Terpsichorean gaiety to 
escape the dowager's inquisition regarding that 
haphazard flight from the Nevski and other 
details he did not wish to converse about. But 
his turn came with Betty at last, and sooner 
than he had reason to expect. 

"Ours is the next ?" she said, passing him. 

Was it ? He had ventured to write his name 
thrice on her card, but neither of the dances he 
had claimed was the next. 



352 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"I put your name down for this one myself/' 
she confessed to him a few moments later. 
"Do you mind ?" 

Did he? The evening wore away but too 
soon; he held her to him a little while, only 
over-quickly to be obliged to yield her to an- 
other. And now, after a third period of wait- 
ing, the time came for their last dance. He 
went for it as soon as the number preceding 
was over ; he wanted, not only to miss none of 
it, but he hungered to snatch all the prelude he 
could. The conventional-looking young per- 
sonage she had been dancing with regarded the 
approaching Mr. Heatherbloom rather resent- 
fully, but he moved straight as an arrow for 
her. At once she stepped toward him, and he 
soon found himself walking with her across the 
smooth shining floor, on into the great con- 
servatory. Here were soft shadows and won- 
drous perfumes. Mr. Heatherbloom breathed 
deeply. 

"But a few days more, and we're en route 
for home." It was the girl who spoke first-^ 



GAIETIES 353 

lightly, gaily — ^though there was a thrill in her 
tones. 

He started and did not answer at once. 
"That will be great, won't it?" His voice, too, 
was light, but it did not seem so spontaneously 
glad as her own. 

"You are pleased, aren't you?" she said sud- 
denly. 

"Pleased? Of course!" 

A brief period of inexplicable constraint! 
He looked at one of her hands resting on the 
edge of a great vase — at a flower she held in 
her fingers. 

May I ?" he said, and just touched it. 
Of course!" she laughed. "A modest re- 
quest, after all you've done for me !" 

Her fingers placed it in the rented coat. 

*There!" she murmured in a matter-of-fact 
tone, stepping back. 

His face, turned to the light, appeared paler ; 
his eyes looked studiously beyond her. 

"It will be jolly on the steamer, won't it?" 
she went on. 



«i 



«i 



354 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"Jolly? Oh, yes," he assented, with false 
enthusiasm, when a black and white apparition 
appeared before them, no less a person than 
Sir Charles. 

The governor, as the bearer of particular 
news, had been looking for her. Mr. Heather- 
bloom hardly appreciated the preamble or the 
importance of what followed. Sir Charles im- 
parted a bit of confidential information they 
were not to breathe to any one until he had 
verified the particulars. Word had just been 
brought to him that the Nevski had gone on a 
reef near a neighboring island and was a total 
wreck. A passing steamer had stood by, taken 
off the prince and his crew and landed them. 
Still Mr. Heatherbloom but vaguely heard ; he 
felt little interest at the moment in his excel- 
lency or his boat. Betty Dalrymple's face, 
however, showed less indifference to this start- 
ling intelligence. 

"The Nevski a wreck ?** she murmured. 

"It must all seem like an evil dream to you 
now,'* Mr. Heatherbloom spoke absently. 
"Your having ever been on her !*' 



GAIETIES 355 

"Not all an evil one," she answered. They 
stood again on the ball-room floor. "Much 
good has come from it. I no longer hate the 
prince. I only blame myself a great deal for 
many things-^" 

He seemed to hear only her first words. 
" 'Good come from it?' I don't understand." 

"But for the Nevski, and what happened to 
me, I should have gone on thinking, as I did, 
about you." 

"And — ^would that have made such a differ- 
ence?" quickly. 

She raised her eyes. "What do you think ?" 

"Betty!" 

The music had begun. He who had hereto- 
fore danced perfectly, now guided wildly. 

"Take care !" she whispered. 

But discretion seemed to have left him; he 
spoke he knew not what — ^wild mad words 
that would not be suppressed. They came in 
contact with another couple and were brought 
to an abrupt stop. Flaming poppies shone on 
her cheeks; her eyes were brightly beaming. 
But she laughed and they went on. He swept 



3S6 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

her out of the crowded ball-room now, on to 
the broad veranda where a few other couples 
also moved in the starlight On her curved lips 
a smile rested; it seemed to draw his head 
lower. 

*'Betty, do you mean it ?" Again the words 
were wrested from him, would come. "What 
your eyes said just now ?" 

She lifted them again, gladly, freely — not 
only that — 

"Yes; I mean it — ^mean it," said her lips. 
"Of course! Foolish boy! I have long meant 
it—" 

"Long?" he cried. 

"You heard what the Russian woman 
said—" 

"About there being some one? Then it 



was — " 



«i 



'Guess." The sweet laughing lips were 
close ; his swept them passionately. He found 
the answer ; the world seemed to go roiQd. 

But later, that night, there was no J«*y cwi 



GAIETIES 357 

Mr. Heatherbloom's face. In his room in 
the old negro woman's house, he indited a 
letter. It was brought to Betty Dalrsrmple the 
next morning as the early sunshine entered 
her chamber overlooking the governor's park. 

"Darling : Forgive me. I am sailing at dawn 
on the old tub, for South America — " 

Here the note fell from the girl's hand. 
Long she looked out of the window. Then 
she went back to the bit of paper, took it and 
held it against her breast before she again 
read. She seemed to know now what would 
be in it; the strange depression that had come 
over her after he had left last night was ac- 
counted for. Of coursd, he would not go back 
to New York with her ; he would, or could, ac- 
cept nothing, in the way she wished, from her 
or her aunt. It was necessary for him still to 
be Mr. Heatherbloom ; he had not yet "found 
himself" fully ; the beginning he had spoken of 
was only begun. The influential friends of his 
father in the financial world had become impos- 
sible aids ; he had to continue as he had planned, 



3S8 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

to go his own way, and his, alone. It would 
have been easy for him, as his father's son and 
the prospective nephew of the influential Miss 
Van Rolsen, to have obtained one of those large 
salaried positions, or "sinecures", with little to 
do. But that would be only beginning at the 
end once more. 

Again she essayed to read. The letter would 
have been a little incomprehensible to any one 
except herself, but she understood. There were 
three "darlings"; inexcusable tautology! She 
kissed them all, but she kissed oftenest the end : 
"You will forgive me for forgetting myself — 
God knows I didn't intend to— and you will 
wait; have faith? It is much to ask — ^too 
much; but if you will, I think my father's son 
and he whom you have honored by caring for, 
may yet prove a little worthy — " 

The words brought a sob to her throat ; she 
threw herself back on the bed. "A little?" she 
cried, still holding the note tight in her hand. 
But after a spell of weeping, once more she 
got up and looked out of the window. The 
sunshine was very bright, the birds sang to her. 



GAIETIES 359 

Did she take heart a little? A great wave of 
sadness bowed her down, but courage, too, 
began to revive in her. 

"Have faith?'* She looked up at the sky; 
she would do as he asked — unto the grave, if 
need be. Then, very quietly, she dressed and 
went down^stairs. 



^ 



EPILOGUE 

IT is very gay at the Hermitage, in Moscow^ 
just after Easter, and so it was natural 
that Sonia Turgeinov should have been there 
on a certain bright afternoon some three years 
later. The theater, at which she once more ap- 
peared, was closed for the afternoon, and at 
this season following Holy Week and fasting, 
fashionables and others were wont to congre- 
gate in the spacious cafe and grounds, where a 
superb orchestra discourses classical or dash- 
ing selections. The musicians played now an 
American air. 

"Some one at a table out there on the balcony 
sent a request by the head waiter for it," said 
a member of Sonia Turgeinov's party — sl Pa- 
risian artist, not long in Moscow. 

"An American, no doubt," she answered ab- 
sently, sipping her wine. The three years had 
treated her kindly; the few outward changes 

360 



y' 



EPILOGUE 361 

could be superficially enumerated: A little 
more embonpoint; a tendency toward a slight 
drooping at the corners of the mobile lips, and 
moments when the shadows seemed to stay 
rather longer in the deep eyes. 

"That style of music should appeal to you, 
Madam," observed the Frenchman. "You who 
have been among those favored artists to visit 
the land of the free. Did you have to play 
in a tent, and were you literally showered with 
gold?" 

"Both," she laughed. "It is a land of many 
surprises." 

"I have heard es ist alles 'the almighty dol- 
lar'," said a musician from Berlin, one of the 
gay company. 

"Exaggeration, mein HerrT she retorted, 
with a wave of the hand. "It is also a komis- 
cher romantischer land*" For a moment she 
seemed thinking. 

"Isn't that his excellency, Prince Boris Stro- 
gareff?" inquired abruptly a young man with 
a beyond-the- Volga physiognomy. 

She started. "The prince?" An odd look 



362 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

came into her eyes. "Do you believe in tele- 
pathic waves. Monsieur?" she said gaily to the 
Frenchman. 

"Not to any great extent. Madam. Mais 
pourquoi?" 

"Nothing. But I don't see this prince you 
speak of." 

"He has disappeared now," replied her 
countryman, a fellow-player recently come 
from Odessa. "It is his first dip again into 
the gaieties of the world. For several years," 
with the proud accents of one able to impart 
information concerning an important person- 
age, "he has been living in seclusion on his vast 
estates near the Caspian Sea — ruling a king- 
dom greater than many a European principal- 
ity. But have you never met the prince ?" To 
Sonia Turgeinov. "He used to be a patron 
of the arts, according to report, before the 
sad accident that befell him." 

"I think," observed Sonia Turgeinov, with 
brows bent as if striving to recollect, "I did 
meet him once. But a poor actress is forced to 



EPILOGUE 363 



meet so many princes and nobles, nowadays/' 
she laughed, "that—" 

"True! Only one would not easil;^ forget 
the prince, the handsomest man in Asia." 

She yawned slightly. 

"What was this *sad accident* you were 
speaking of, mein Herr?" observed the Ger- 
man, with a mind trained to conversational 
continuity. 

"The prince was cruising somewhere and his 
yacht was wrecked," said the young Roscius 
from Odessa. "A number of the crew were 
drowned ; his excellency, when picked up, was 
unconscious. A blow on the head from a fall- 
ing timber, or from being dashed on the rocks, 
I'm not sure which. At any rate, for a long 
time his life was despaired of, but he recovered 
and is as strong and sound as ever. Only, 
there is a strange sequel; or not so strange," 
reflectively, "since cases of its kind are com- 
mon. The injury was on his head, as I re- 
marked, and his mind became — " 

"Affected, Monsieur?" said the Frenchman. 



364 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

"You mean this great noble of the steppe is no 
longer right, mentally?" 

'*He is one of the keenest satraps in Asia, 

« 

Monsieur. His brain is as alert as ever, only 
he has suffered a complete loss of memory." 

Sonia Turgeinbv's interest was of a dis- 
tinctly artificial nature ; she tapped on the floor 
with her foot ; then abruptly arose. "Shan't 
we go into the garden for our coffee ?" she said. 
"It is close here." 

They got up and walked out. As they did so 
they passed a couple at one of the tables on the 
balcony and a slight exclamation fell from 
Sonia Turgeinov's lips. For an instant she ex- 
hibited real interest, then hastening down the 
steps, she selected a place some distance aside. 
A great bunch of flowers was in the center of 
the table and she moved her chair behind them. 

"You see some one you know, gnddige 
Madam ?" asked the observant Teuton. 

"A great many people," she answered. 

"There's that American over there who 
asked for the Yankee piece of music," said the 
Frenchman, with eyes on the two people Sonia 



EPILOGUE 365 

Turgeinov had started at sight of, a moment 
before. ''Mon Dieu! What charm! What 
beauty!" 

''Der Herr Amerikaner?*' blurted the sur- 
prised Berliner. 

"No — diable! His helle companion !" 

"Where ?" said Soma Turgeinov, well know- 
ing. A face that her table companion regarded, 
she, too, saw beyond the flowers. The after- 
noon sunshine touched the golden hair of her 
she looked at ; the violet eyes shone with delight 
upon bizarre details of the scene — ^the waiters 
in blouses resembling street "white wings" in 
American cities, the coachmen outside, big as 
balloons in their quilted cloaks. 

*'Der Herr Amerikaner has the passionate 
eyes of an admirer, a devout lover," murmured 
the sentimental musician from Berlin. 

"Or an American husband !" said Roscius 
from Odessa, 

"Sometimes!" added the Frenchman cyn- 
ically. 

"I haf met him," observed the Herr Musik- 
aner, "at the hotel. We haf talked together. 



366 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 

once or twice. He has been in South America 
— ^Argentine, ich glaube — ^and has made a for- 
tune there. And madam, his wife, and he are 
making a grand tour of the world. Their wed- 
ding trip, I believe. Sie kommt von einer der 
ersten Familien — ^the Dalrymples. Der Herr 
Direktor of the Russicher-Chinese bank told 
me. He cashes the drafts — H^ Gott — nicht 
kleineT 

These prosaic details the Frenchman, pic- 
torially occupied, hardly heard. *'Mon Dieu! 
What a chapeau!" he sighed. "No wonder he 
looks enchanted at that wonderful creation of 
the Rue de la Paix." 

**He seems quite an exception to some hus^ 
bands in that respect!" remarked the Berliner 
in deep gutturals. 

Sonia Turgeinov lighted a cigarette and blew 
the smoke at the flowers. There was a resent- 
ful cynicism in the act; she leaned back with 
greater abandon m her chair. "After all, the 
unities have been observed," she said with an 
odd laugh. 

"What unities?" asked Roscius, becoming 



EPILOGUE 367 

keen as a young hound on the scent, at the 
sound of the trite phrase. 

"Oh, I was thinking of a play." Stretching 
more comfortably. Suddenly her cigarette 
waved; behind the flowers, her eyes dilated. 
Prince Boris Strogareff was coming down the 
steps ; he passed the American couple they had 
been talking about and looked at them. A light 
of involuntary admiration shone from his gaze, 
but there was no recognition in it— Hjnly the 
instinctive tribute that a man of the world and 
a gallant Russian is ever prone to pay at the 
sight of an unusually charming member of the 
other sex. Then, once more impassive^-a strik- 
ing handsome figure — ^he moved leisurely down 
and out of the gardens. The couple, engrossed 
at the time in a conversation of some intimate 
nature or in each other, had not even seen or . 
noticed the august nobleman. 

Sonia Turgeinov drew harder on the cig- 
arette ; a laugh welled from her throat. "Oh, 
I wouldn't have missed it for worlds !*' she said. 

Young Roscius with the Tartar eyes stared 
at her. She threw away the smoking cylinder. 



368 A MAN AND HIS MONEY 



"I'm oflf !" 

«1 



^Why— ' 

^Has not the curtain descended?" enigmat- 
ically. 

"I don't see any curtain," said the French- 



man. 



No? But it's there." At the gate, how- 
ever, once more she paused — to listen, to laugh. 

^'Was jetztf asked the mystified Berliner. 

She only shrugged. 

The orchestra, having played a few conven- 
tional selections after Dixie, had now plunged 
into Marching through Georgia. 

As Sonia Turgeinov disappeared through the 
gate, the golden head surmounted by the "won- 
derful chapeau", bent toward the clean-cut, 
strong-looking face of the young man on the 
other side of the small table. 

"It's awfully extravagant of you, Harry, — 
twenty roubles, a tip for those musicians. But 
it makes it seem like home, doesn't it ?" 

"Yes, darling," he answered. 

THE END 



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